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  • Writer's pictureIndie Music News Reporter

Phoenix - Music Interview

Updated: Mar 3

Phoenix, the American folk pop duo comprising Tim and Kathy Crosby, boasts over 2 decades of collaboration. Renowned for their songwriting prowess and diverse entertainment style, they've crafted numerous CD's together. From Las Vegas to Nashville, their performances have spanned venues large and small, earning comparisons to icons like Willie Nelson, Gillian Welch, and June Carter Cash. Tim Crosby, celebrated as the instrumental talent of the duo, also shares his musical passion through teaching, offering private classes in Salem and Corvallis, Oregon. Kathy Crosby, the vibrant personality of Phoenix, not only manages the duo but also teaches piano lessons and serves as the President of the Oregon Festival and Events Association. Phoenix's musical journey includes two full-length albums, "Rise" and "Viewpoint," along with the single "Calamity Blues," garnering accolades such as the 2020 Global Music Awards Silver Medal and nominations for the Josie Award and W.A.M. Singer-songwriter Folk Best Song. Their music, recognized on platforms like BWH's "Her Voice" and Women of Substance Radio, continues to captivate audiences with its heartfelt melodies and skilled performances.


Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing or performing music? Tell us about it.


For me, it was hearing the U.S. Navy Band at a school assembly when I was in 8th grade. They played "Lay Down Sally", and in that moment, I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I can still remember exactly who was sitting on each side of me, where they had set the band up in our gym, and how everything went into hyper-focus at that moment. It took me awhile, but I am now blessed to be a full-time musician


Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?


We ran out of gas coming back from an out-of-town performance - right on the exit ramp! In those days I wore stiletto heels - tall ones! It was snowing and icy, but I trouped along the overpass along with two other band members to the closest gas station. In my high heels! A close second would be while playing the Pendleton Roundup, I rode the mechanical bull (also while in stilettos) while a friend of ours played "Orange Blossom Special" as fast as he could. I didn't fall off, but I was more than ready for the song to end!


What has been the high point of your music path?


Being able to write, teach, and perform with my spouse. It's been an amazing journey, but everything else pales compared to the blessed life we lead.


So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?


The last song I wrote came from a series of notes a student played in a second level piano book. As soon as she left, I sat down to play it with a chord structure, and the melody came from there. The words came to me (usually in bed waiting to go to sleep) over the course of a few weeks. It's easier for me if I have a melody first. I can then come up with the story and mold that melody to fit. Lately I'm into different ways to rhyme words. My current challenge is to slant the rhymes as opposed to using them at the ends of each line.



What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?


Staying abreast of the ever-changing business. Places like CD Baby and Distro-Kid are a huge help in getting your music out there, but that's only a small part of what we do. Knowing who books the places you want to perform, keeping up with social media, working with podcasters and playlist agents, having a clear plan and following it - there are a lot of fabulous musicians who can't find a way to do it all. We have become a part of the Josie Music Awards family (think the Grammy's for independent artists). They offer some great tools to keep you focused and moving forward.


If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?


On a large scale - Billie Eilish and her brother. Brilliant musicians. On a smaller scale, Kristen Grainger and True North. They perform Americana music with bluegrass instrumentation. Kristen is an amazingly talented songwriter and singer - who also happens to be a friend! On a really small scale, we love a good mini jam (a dozen people or less) on a front porch in the sunshine!


Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!


"Who Will Pray for Me". My Mom died, and then a few months later, one of my brothers passed away. Needless to say, it was a tough year. I have always been glad I wrote it, as it speaks to so many in our audiences.



For fans who have never heard your music, can you pick three words to describe it?! If three words just aren't enough..then tell us more!!


American folk-pop. We had no idea what that meant until we kept getting introduced that way. We looked it up, and it's folks like John Denver, Gordon Lightfoot, Peter, Paul, and Mary, etc. It's a good description, and we are honored to be considered a part of the folk pop world!


What is your favorite part about being an artist? Is it songwriting, performing, recording, something else? Tell us why.


There's nothing like performing, especially when the magic happens. Songwriting and recording are a bit painful for me, so I use them as growing experiences. With recording, I always come away from the studio better than when I went in! I love teaching. Bringing others the gift of music is so meaningful.


Okay, this a fun question. When you are not doing music, what else do you enjoy doing?


Gardening, reading, going to the farmer's market. Our guilty pleasure is a Friday night catch up of all the late-night talk show hosts monologues!


What's coming up in the future for you?


In April we'll be traveling to George, Washington for a concert that will also be my birthday celebration. A week later we'll perform a couple of shows with the Rough & Tumble, an extremely fun duo from the other side of the United States. We're about three songs away from being able to go into the studio to record our next album, so we'll keep focusing on writing and arranging. I'm ALWAYS looking to keep our calendar full of performances!!


 

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