Home Read Albums Of The Week: Philip Sayce | The Wolves Are Coming

Albums Of The Week: Philip Sayce | The Wolves Are Coming

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “From the moment Philip Sayce first put his hands on a guitar neck, he never let go. Malcolm Gladwell theorized that “greatness” requires 10,000 hours of practical training. A teenage Sayce had easily surpassed this threshold when his hometown hero, legendary guitarist and multi-platinum artist Jeff Healey, caught him playing a ferocious set in downtown Toronto.

Within a year, Sayce was touring internationally with Healey’s band and performing at the world’s most prestigious festivals. Since that time, Sayce has put in multiples of that 10,000 hours, recording and touring for four years with musical icon Melissa Etheridge, then launching a solo career and establishing a rabid fan base in Europe and beyond, opening shows for the likes of ZZ Top and Deep Purple. Sayce is a rare artist, a combination of outstanding songwriter, unparalleled guitarist, soulful singer, and electrifying performer.

Sayce’s new album The Wolves Are Coming was recorded at Station House Studios in Los Angeles with Grammy-winning engineer Mark Rains. The sessions were produced by Sayce, mixed by Brian Moncarz (Toronto) and Rains, and released on Sayce’s own label Atomic Gemini. Sayce contacted his long-time collaborators, drummers Michael Leasure, Aaron Sterling and Fritz Lewak, Fred Mandel on piano and organ, and vocalist Bernie Barlow.

“These songs and stories came into focus during my darkest times,” he says. “The Wolves Are Coming represents a bridge — a connection between despair and hope — that invites broken spirits to be transformed and healed.”

Songs like Oh! That Bitches Brew and Backstabber hit like hurricanes, capturing the intensity and heaviness of the pandemic era during which this album was conceived. Lady Love Divine explores the light in contrast to darkness with an uplifting, foot-stomping, up-tempo funk groove and memorable songwriting that delivers hooks in all the right places. Ballads like It’s Over Now and the magical instrumental Intuition round out Sayce’s signature fuzz tones and sledgehammer mountain-sized drum grooves with delicate, intimate, and dynamic performances. The Wolves Are Coming is a career highlight, exemplifying Sayce’s commitment to his craft and using the power of music as a uniting force to welcome in the light during incredibly turbulent times.

“I am so excited about this record and where I am at this time,” he says. “These new songs represent my personal journey since the release of Spirit Rising and my commitment to growing as a musician and a human being. I am grateful to have realized my vision for this record by incorporating these stellar musicians, songs carefully penned, and my determination around the overall creative process.”

Born in Wales, raised in Toronto and based in L.A., Sayce’s love of the guitar started at an early age when his parents introduced him to many of the influential greats — Albert King, Freddie King, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert Collins, Jeff Healey, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck. Sayce performed on Uncle Kracker’s album No Stranger to Shame. He toured and recorded with Etheridge, and during this time, Sayce found time to record his first solo album Peace Machine with co-producer Michael Nielsen.

In 2015, Sayce made his major-label debut with Influence. Recorded with Grammy-winning producer Dave Cobb, the album spawned strong press notices, a top 20 radio track, and expanded his global audience. The release was followed in 2016 by Scorched Earth, Volume 1. Sayce’s electrifying live performances leave fans awestruck — a devastating house-shaking appearance at Clapton’s Crossroads Festival in New York City was heralded as one of the top performances of the event. In 2020, during the global pandemic, Sayce released his seventh album Spirit Rising. The self-produced recording quickly became his most successful album without the support of tour dates or traditional promotion. Undaunted, Sayce turned his attention to social media and saw his fanbase grow over 300% — Spirit Rising has now eclipsed 131 million streams.

Sayce has set the bar higher than ever with The Wolves Are Coming. This body of work is more powerful, unique, and brash than anything he has written or recorded to date. Be ready, be warned. You can run, but you can’t hide… The Wolves Are Coming.”