K Phillips turns poetic passion into music

Grace Colville

At first glance K Phillips is just another up-and-coming country music artist, but look closer and you’ll see he’s no run of the mill musician.

Phillips will be in Lexington at the Lyric Theatre on Monday, Oct. 17 to perform on WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour along with western Kentucky native Kelsey Waldon. Phillips’ new album “Dirty Wonder” has not been released yet, but he described it as “the greatest breakup album ever written”.

“I wanted to make a record that when people break up with somebody they could go to it and it could help them get through stuff, but also be uplifting,” Phillips said.

Phillips was born in West Texas and raised by his grandparents in the Concho Valley. According to him it was a slower way of living, and he remembered growing up like a little old person.

Related: Kelsey Waldon finds her way

“I was taking a Starbucks coffee to school in like the fifth grade, and I would wear suits to school,” Phillips said. “I was a pretty weird kid.”

Phillips began writing lyrics at a very young age. He recalled writing poems in elementary school about his parents, and in middle school about girls. He always thought it was just long-winded poetry, but he later realized that he was writing song lyrics.

“I feel like I learned from a very early age that music can be a healer,” said Phillips.

It’s easy to see that poetry has had an immense influence on Phillips’ life. He found his inspiration as a writer and as a person in Robert Graves’ poem titled “Love Without Hope”.

The poem tells the story of a poor bird catcher who encounters a beautiful woman leaving the park one night. He tips his hat to her, which releases all the birds he caught that day, impressing a girl he normally never would have a chance with. Phillips related to this, and it has always reminded and inspired him to keep it simple.

Another of his biggest inspirations, Billy Collins, too is a poet. Phillips described his work as very suspenseful, and said that before you know it, you’re inside an alternate universe he created.

“Artists should take you somewhere, when you don’t even realize they’re doing it,” said Phillips.

Van Morrison is also very important to Phillips because of the connection he feels to Morrison’s music, which combined Morrison’s Irish heritage with rootsy American music.

When asked what he has learned from music, Phillips had one solid answer – tell the truth.

“If I tell a true story, whether it’s my story or somebody else’s, it connects with people,” said Phillips.


What: K Phillips and Kelsey Waldon on WoodSongs

When: Monday, Oct 17 at 6:45 p.m.

Where: Lyric Theatre – 300 E Third St.

Tickets: $10 public, $5 student