Philip Sayce

‘Influence’ is an apt title for an album from arguably the most underheralded guitar hero on the circuit. Philip Sayce, the Welsh born axe hero, came of age in Toronto, Canada during the 90’s and was weaned on such guitar heroes as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Healey and Mark Knopfler. “I have such distinct memories listening to these incredible musicians,” Sayce says. “Their music had a huge effect on me.”

His first live music experience was an Eric Clapton gig at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens. “This groovy version of ‘Crossroads’ had such an impact on me,” Sayce recalls. “It was that musicianship, that laid the foundation for me. What Clapton did was very different from what many younger artists do today. It was about spilling your heart out.”

Hence, the title ‘Influence.’ Sayce knocks it out of the park with an array of visceral covers and inspired originals. The blues guitar whiz is wise enough to realize that it doesn’t matter if you’re an interpreter or a writer, it’s about delivering a song that’s going to sear the listener’s brain. “

Sayce has won the approval of a number of acclaimed artists. He recorded and toured with the late Jeff Healey and Melissa Etheridge. “She is a tremendous musician and just a great person,” Sayce said. “It was a wonderful experience with her. Jeff was just off the charts. He would simply put people in a trance when he performed. It was otherworldly.”

And then there was Sayce’s unforgettable performance at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Festival at Madison Square Garden last year. “It was amazing,” Sayce says. “In some ways I went full circle since my parents played Clapton and Dire Straits when I was growing up. I heard nothing but the best then and that’s what I’m trying to do today. I’m going out there in the studio and onstage to do my best.”