Stillwater News Press

November 9, 2011

Stilly Studio: Bo Phillips Band

By Chase Rheam


A Stillwater musician is taking a different approach for the sound of his new album.

Bo Phillip’s newest release, recorded in Oklahoma City, is titled “Fishin’ with Grandpa.” He said this CD is “less poppy sounding.”

“The first CD, the Dirt Road CD ... it had a really bright sound to it and everything and a lot of really catchy jingles and stuff and, there’s nothing wrong with it, but on this one we wanted to really lay it back and do more groove based and just talk about growing up,” he said.

Phillips said he wants people to know that each and every word he writes was inspired — and not just said to make a dollar.

“I haven’t worked in eight years,” Phillips said. “I haven’t worked a day. I’m doing what I love. I just happen to get paid for it. That’s the way I look at it.”

Bo Phillips has performing professionally for eight years. Previously, he was a high school agriculture teacher in northeast Oklahoma for two years and in Agra for four years. He was also bartending and bouncing at a bar in Stillwater.

“The owner of that bar opened up a new place on The Strip and asked me if I wanted to help host the karaoke,” he said.

Phillips was told if, between songs nothing was going on, he could grab his guitar and play a few songs.

“We started doing that Tuesdays and Thursdays, and it gradually got to where more people were coming for the live music than they were for the karaoke, so that kind of sparked a lot more interest in me, and then the club owner liked it and about a year after that I decided to quit my teaching job and pursue music full-time,” he said.

Phillips and his brothers, Stoney LaRue and Stephan Phillips, were raised by their grandparents. Because his father played bass and there were several musicians on his mother’s side, Phillips said he would get a “little taste” of music from time to time.

“I guess not having it around you made you more hungry for it, so when I was nine years old, my grandparents got me a guitar and (I) had a chord book with three chords in it and learned the rest from watching ‘Austin City Limits,’” he said. “We had three TV stations if the wind was blowing right.”

Inspiration came in the form of artists he heard on the radio, including Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and older artists such as Ernest Tubbs. Those country musicians mixed with artists he watched on “Austin City Limits,” such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Asleep at the Wheel and Eric Clapton gave him a diverse background of artists that shaped the musician he is today, he said.

“We were very, very poor,” he said. “We didn’t have two nickels to rub together. And for me to have a guitar was just something huge. It was an old, cheap, little pawn shop guitar, but it was definitely, it was something to us.”

Phillips said he was “absolutely horrible” at playing growing up and that it was probably junior high or high school before things started coming together.

“I think the first chorded song I ever learned was ‘Sweet Home Alabama,’” Phillips said. “Three chords, but you pick them and everybody knows what song it is.”

The 37-year-old husband and father to three children said his kids think his job is cool.

“They don’t like that I have to go to work all the time, and I totally understand that,” he said. “But, it’s really cool because when one of the songs come on the radio, they’re like, ‘Hey, that’s my dad, that’s my dad!’”

And as for the fans, Phillips is grateful for their support.

“First and foremost, I just want to thank everybody that actually cares enough to come out to the shows, who help support us, get the merchandise, the CDs and stuff because there’s a lot of places to spend your money,” he said. “There’s a lot of places you could be on a Friday or Saturday night, but for them to make the decision to help us out and support what we do is truly huge, and I can’t thank them enough.”

According to his website, Phillips will be performing in Stillwater again on Dec. 9 at the Tumbleweed Dance Hall.

For more information, visit