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 magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our Q&A with her.
Phillips: I think Gordon Matta-Clark was arrested for cutting big shapes out of condemned buildings. There are some recordings I’d like to cut some holes in … but that’s not the only reason I like his amazing work. I have often wished I could arrange for the roof of a club or theater to open up while I’m singing to let the sky in. There are books of his building sculptures and pieces of them that have shown up at museums. He had an amazing ability to see art and beauty in unlikely places. Video after the jump.