Page McConnell - S/T - CD

Page McConnell - S/T - CD

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Although Page McConnell didn't write many songs during his nearly 20-year tenure with Phish, his first solo album showcases nine Page-penned, unflinchingly personal tunes that document his post-Phish struggles and recent divorce.

It's a toss-up which event was more painful, but it's his efforts to fashion a new paradigm for both his music and his love life that provide this disc with its dramatic tension and disarming fragility. While "Runaway Bride," and "Beauty of a Broken Heart" are like scars that still fester, "Maid Marian," a romantic "note to self" about what to avoid next time love comes calling, seems to reveal more about McConnell's state of mind, and is stronger because of it.

A much funkier album than his two Vida Blue efforts, with more sophisticated vocals, McConnell no longer seems so determined to distance himself from his high profile past. He not only invites former band mates Trey Anastasio, Mike Gordon, and Jon Fishman to guest, he allows himself the freedom jam as in days of yore. Having said that, these jams are more reminiscent of the Allman Brothers Band's anxious jazz interludes than the mind-altering science experiments that Phish was known for.