Sam Phillips’ Fan Dance: Drummers

It’s not as much of a journey from religious music to Jerry Lee Lewis and the Die Hard movie franchise as you might think. For someone who began her recording career as a Christian artist, Sam Phillips has had a very secular professional life. Born Leslie Ann Phillips in 1962, she cut her last album of religious music, produced by future husband T Bone Burnett, in 1987. (Phillips and Burnett divorced in 2004.) Phillips then jumped ship to the Virgin label in 1989 and began recording albums of thoughtful-yet-stirring music to document her new life as Sam Phillips. Critics’ fave Fan Dance, her 2001 debut record for Nonesuch Records, featured lovely string arrangements by the legendary Van Dyke Parks. Phillips is currently in the middle of a year-long multimedia project called Long Play and also has a tune placed in Oscar-contending film Crazy Heart with Jeff Bridges. In addition, Phillips will be guest editing all week. Read our Q&A with her.


Phillips: Electronic beats and noises are cute, funny and perfect. In the hands of some, they can groove, but I love the imperfect, lopsided, sexy, human drummers. There is tone and grease and mess when you hear great ones. Jim Keltner (pictured left), one of my favorites, can snap his fingers and play a piece of paper that grooves as hard as a machine. Carla Azar (pictured right), the drummer in Autolux, wears dresses and has the tiniest arms, but she is an amazingly powerful and versatile musician. Jay Bellerose creates massive bass tones with his giant kick drums. Video after the jump.