Philip Ancher

REVIEW: Philip Ancher “Hoist Every Sail”


Philip Ancher – Hoist Every Sail

Coming from Denmark the music carefully sewn into each tune here would find a comfortable place both in the mountains of Virginia or the countryside of England.

Right out of the starting gate Philip Ancher’s “Happy Birthday, Baby,” suggest a singer who smiles as he sings. This is not music for angry people since it possesses an enthusiastic homegrown populist appeal.

“I’m the Ancher You Need,” is a strong Irish pub-style tune. With intricate mandolin picking. The energy of the showcase & the cohesive arrangement has a frenetic quality. Ancher’s voice is so “into” the song he sweeps you along into his musical world.

Philip Ancher

Hoist Every Sail (Available Nov 1– Independent) are 16-cuts that explore vintage styles but are rendered in a well-articulated earthy brand. The energy is consistent & though there have been singers in the past (Clifford T. Ward, Paul Brady & Pierce Turner) who have explored these types of songs Ancher maintains his originality of approach.

Even in his quiet moments (“Angel of the Lake”) Philip maintains an instinctive fairytale beauty without becoming bombastic or long-winded. He goes from soft tonality to Christian-rocker Steve Taylor’s vocal ruggedness with finesse. He adds soulfulness where you’d least expect it.

Produced/arranged by Ancher (vocals/acoustic guitars/piano), with Steffen Schackinger (acoustic/electric guitars, banjo, mandolin, bouzouki, cello, keyboards) & Jane Clark (violin), Thomas Moller (piano), Dan Rasmussen (bass) & Dennis Pedersen (drums/percussion).

For the most part, these are light-hearted melodies that exude wonderful musicianship & storytelling. There isn’t anything innovative, but even the slow ballad “What Kind of Fool Am I?” is fluid, constructed with poignancy & well-performed. This is a great little song that bears repeated listening.

Ancher has ideas. He covers a wide range of styles, & each is well-distinguished. “10,000 Love Songs,” is delicious. Dennis Pedersen lays down solid beats & a lead guitar by Steffen soars beautifully. I like the way Philip uses his voice in quiet passages & manages to excel with incipient coolness.

There isn’t a dull tune here. Some are stronger than others, but none suffer from repetition or heavy-handed cliches. Ancher’s music is ambitious & his slight humorous additions lighten up the brew like flavored creamer. His voice does come off at times like a coal-faced English-schoolboy hooligan sneaking into a pub. But that just adds to his character’s wink of the eye, grin & charm.

“The Unborn and the Dead,” & the finale “The Year 2070” are more serious. Jane Clark’s violin adds a perfect vivid atmosphere throughout. These are quite good. Sometimes a good song is just a good song. No hidden meanings, deep morals, or lessons to learn. The music you listen to should define you – listening to Philip Ancher’s music can only make you smile.

Hard to believe Americana this good can come out of a faraway land like Denmark. But it is good. It’s very good.

The CD is available @ Amazon &

Find more new Americana music on our playlist here: New Americana Music playlist by Americana Highways


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