We’ve all known that great musician from high school or college, that talented guitar player or singer who we just knew would be on American Bandstand, or American Top 40, or American Idol someday. But more often than not, that “can’t miss kid,” did miss. They’d fail to make it in music and quit, probably to go back to school, get a graduate degree, and settle down to a more “normal” life working in insurance or maybe investments.
Well some people do things a little bit backwards. Phil Ayoub failed at “normal” life…and quit. After earning an MBA from Boston College and finding his way to a prosperous job at a large investment company, Phil Ayoub left it all behind to write songs. After earning B's in business school (well, B-minuses actually), Ayoub enrolled himself in the school of Bruce, Bono, and Bob…
While he was still working his day job, Phil made a local name for himself creating, fronting, and engineering the Boston band Riverside Train. With Riverside Train, Ayoub (pronounced A-yoob) amassed a solid, loyal fan base, performing at some of the top music venues in Boston and New England.
The band also earned some national recognition through an unlikely source when Hall of Fame baseball journalist Peter Gammons wrote "If your tastes include The Black Crowes and/or Three Doors Down, get the debut disc of a great new band, Riverside Train. Try their web site. You will not be disappointed," in his ESPN.com column.
After bringing Riverside Train to its final stop, Ayoub toyed with the idea of moving from his native New England (he splits time between Boston and Rhode Island) to New York, Los Angeles, or Nashville, but it was at this crossroads that the hand of fate stepped in. Or more accurately, the mouse-click of fate.
Ayoub came across a “craigslist” online ad from a producer looking for new talent to work with in Providence, RI. That producer turned out to be Tim Bradshaw, keyboardist and guitarist with David Gray and John Mayer. Bradshaw liked Ayoub's demos, and signed on to produce his solo record.
The result of this initial collaboration was Ayoub’s debut record Schoolbus Window Paper Heart. Described as “grad-school rock,” it is Americana pop-rock at its best, with 12 songs written or co-written by Ayoub, produced by Bradshaw, and featuring the drumming of Ed Toth of Vertical Horizon and the Doobie Brothers.
Inspired by Springsteen, U2, and Oasis, Phil has the energy of Bruce, the passion of Bono, and none of the attitude of Oasis’ Gallagher brothers (well, not usually…).
Then after a short stint in Nashville, a long break to write songs, and some traveling…
Arrivals and Departures, the new record from singer-songwriter, rocker-folker, coffee drinker, hookah smokah, and dog walker Phil Ayoub is finally cleared for landing in 2010!
The new record contains 13 songs written in and amongst terminals, coach seats, security offices, food court Sbarros, on runways, baggage claim belts, during strip searches, random bag checks, and 10-minute chair massages in airports and airplanes all over the world. As well as in the kitchen of his parents’ house. Appropriately, recording sessions for the album were split between Massachusetts and Stoke-On-Trent in the U.K.
Arrivals and Departures finds Ayoub reuniting with the inventive producer and extremely talented multi-instrumentalist Tim Bradshaw, who helped turn Ayoub’s mumbled song ideas on cassette tapes (yes, Phil still uses tapes) into this record. It also features drumming from the ever cool Kevin Figueiredo from the band Extreme. Perhaps the most astonishing accomplishment of the sessions, though, might be the fact that Phil got the born and bred Brit Tim to voluntarily drink and enjoy Miller Lite Beer (Unofficial Official Beer of Ayoub Men).
Having been delayed on the runway for slightly longer than expected, Arrivals and Departures is the follow up to Schoolbus Window Paper Heart, which had Ayoub performing in venues from the Viper Room in LA to Fenway Park in Boston, and featured songs on such notable and respected stations as WBOS Boston, WXPN Philadelphia, WBCN Boston, WDHA New Jersey, WHJY Providence, WXRV The River Boston, WMVY Martha’s Vineyard, KEXP Seattle, and XM and Sirius Satellite Radio.
It has been said on more than one occasion by multiple anonymous sources that “if Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, John Mayer, Neil Young, Ryan Adams, George Clooney, and Bono all donated sperm, and one baby was the result, that baby would be Phil Ayoub!”
"Phil Ayoub has an MBA degree. He also has some kind of ear for commercial pop-rock melodies and intelligent lyrics.”
-The Sun Chronicle
"He has a fan club and an MBA, which might not make all that much sense. But if you listen to Phil Ayoub, you can hear the two opposing qualities in his music: It’s keen and endearing, witty as well as likable…Ayoub writes empathically, with sensitivity and intelligence….he must be doing something right."
“His influences are classic, and he lives up to them…The result is a radio-ready sound for radio-ready songs.”
-The Providence Journal
"...He wears his heart on his sleeve and his songs are as truthful and honest as they come...clever lyrics, solid musicianship... from the cocky barroom wisdom of Bono, the social commentary and good ole rock 'n' roll punch of Bruce Springsteen and the wordsmith master, Bob Dylan.. a definite keeper."
-The Noise Magazine
"...filled with poignant songwriting..."