11 Songs, 29 Minutes

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About Phil Ajjarapu

It took a near-death experience to launch Phil Ajjarapu's solo career. A multi-instrumentalist session musician, veteran of countless bands, and classic pop aficionado, the Austin-based musician was on lunch break from his job as assistant choir director at a local high school when he lost control of his motorcycle and plunged 25 feet off a highway overpass into the traffic below. By all accounts, he should have died, yet he miraculously awoke five days later in the hospital and began an inspired recovery that would lead the career sideman to finally make his first solo album. A native of Libertyville, Illinois, Ajjarapu was drawn to music at an early age, feasting on classics like the Beatles, Big Star, and the Zombies, while discovering punk and indie records at a nearby record store. He taught himself any instrument he could get his hands on and eventually went down a career path of music education working in Florida, Illinois, and Austin, Texas. All the while, he sat in with countless bands, spent time as the bassist for Chicago acid jazz pioneers Liquid Soul, and worked a wide range of session gigs doing everything from jingles to recording with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. Relocating to Austin in 2006, he established himself both as a beloved music teacher and a frequent player in the local indie scene, but it wasn't until his horrific accident in March 2012 that his aspirations to record his own music became clear. Getting a solo album out was a personal statement he needed to make and it needed to happen immediately. This quest, along with the adoption of his service dog Molly, hastened his recovery and before long he was back at work at Anderson High School and had hatched a plan that would eventually bring producer Ken Stringfellow (the Posies, R.E.M., Big Star) to Texas to help him make the kind of classic pop album he'd always wanted to make. With the sessions funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign, Ajjarapu and Stringfellow, along with a dream team of Austin locals (including some of his choir students), laid down the 11 tracks that would make up his solo debut Sing Along Until You Feel Better. Released in 2014, the album sports a decidedly retro vibe, calling to mind the warm melodicism of Emitt Rhodes, the sophisticated orchestrations of the Beach Boys, and a strong power pop sensibility. In the spring of 2017, Ajjarapu delivered two new releases on the same day: the first featuring a handful of live orchestral and choral arrangements of songs from his debut, and the second offering two new studio tracks, "I Got a Feeling" and "Kimberly." ~ Timothy Monger

HOMETOWN
Libertyville, IL
GENRE
Rock

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