Todd Phillips is the bassist of choice for many of the most innovative, as well as traditional, acoustic instrumental and bluegrass recordings made since the mid-1970s. A two-time Grammy Award winner and founding member of the original David Grisman Quintet, Phillips has made a career of consistently performing and recording with acoustic music’s finest and most creatie artists. His tone, timing, and subtly intricate bass lines make him one of the few real stylists on acoustic bass, and he is among the very best practitioners of the instrument on the scene.
With the David Grisman Quintet, Phillips spent five years playing both mandolin and bass with the group. He then spent another five years with Rice in The Tony Rice Unit. Rice and Phillips also worked together with J.D. Crowe, Doyle Lawson, Bobby Hicks and Jerry Douglas in the now classic bluegrass recording group “The Bluegrass Album Band”–producing six albums over fifteen years. Since then, Phillips has had the opportunity to work with a virtual “who’s Who” of acoustic music’s finest, such as Vassar Clements, Ricky Skaggs, Sam Bush, John Hartford, Alison Brown, Mike Marshall, Stuart Duncan, Tim O’Brien, Del McCoury, Darrell Scott, larry Campbell, John Doyle, and has performed in venues from Royal Albert Hall in London with joan Baez, to The David Lettermand Show with Elvis Costello and Rosanne Cash.
In 1983 Phillips received his first Grammy Award for his work with The New South (Crowe, Skaggs, Rice, Douglas) in a live concert recording “Bluegrass-The Greatest Show on Earth”. Also in ’83, he finished his first solo recording “Released” (Varrick Records), featuring Tony Rie, Jerry Douglas, Darol Anger, and John Reischman. Throughout the 1980s, Frets Magazine readers voted Phillips five Readers Poll Awards for “best bluegrass bassist.”
Phillips has recorded much since then as producer, engineer, and artist. In 1993 he produced Kathy Kallick’s “Matters of the Heart”, and in 1995 he released his traditional “old-time” instrumental CD “In the Pines” (Gourd Music), and a CD of all original compositions “Timeframe (Compass Records). Todd’s second Grammy Award came in 1997 as producer of “True Life Blues – The Songs of Bill Monroe”. The album received three Grammy nominations and won “Bluegrass Album of the Year”. The project also received two Internation Bluegrass Music Association Awards.
Throughout the 1990s Phillips toured and recorded with many bands including: PsychoGrass, Laurie Lewis, NewGrange, Tim O’Brien/Darrell Scott Band, and with Phillips, Grier & Flinner.
In 2011 Phillips completed a set of instructional DVDs for Homespun Tapes “Essential Techniques for Acoustic Bass I & II”, and again in 2012 he added “Todd Phillips’ Bass Workout and Practice Regimen” instructional DVD, focusing on exercises for upright bassists.
In 2008 Phillips moved from California to Nashville and began touring the U.S. and Europe for the following two year with Joan Baez. Since his migration to “Music City” he has performed and recorded with some of the town’s best – Russ Barenberg, Brittany Haas, Sierra Hull, Jim Lauderdale, David Peterson, John Cowan, roland White, Mike Compton, Andrea Zonn, Janis Ian, Jim Hurst, Molly Tuttle, and Bobby Osborne, to name a few.
Currently Todd tours with several bands including Robbie Fulks and with a new band: Appalachian Road-Show.
Todd endorses D’Addario Strings and Fishman Transducers.