In this episode, Phil Mantello shares his unique trip taken to get his dream realized, and how the songs found a home.
In 1999, Phil Mantello created The Algoma Singer/Songwriters project, an idea that allowed those musicians that were not regulars in the local bar circuit to play their music for an audience, in a coffeehouse setting at Algoma University. Some ten years later, Mantello took some of his own songs to the recording studio to make a 7-song EP.
Mantello entered the studio thinking he may sing and play guitar. In his role as co-producer, he realized that the songs were better in the hands of the excellent, more experienced musicians he had teamed with, and opted out of performing on the record as a musician. His songs were what mattered most, presented in the best possible way, a decision made in the name of the art and the album.
Mantello attracted top-quality musicians, starting with ex-Jackson Hawke co-founder Bob Yeomans to co-produce the record, as well as play acoustic and electrical guitars. Mark Gough, a versatile session player, played percussion, drums and some bass guitar, as well as background vocals. Recorded at his South Pine Studios in Sault Ste. Marie, ON, Gough also served as engineer. Raymond Gassi, a seasoned touring musician and recording artist, filled out the trio playing bass guitar and singing background vocals on three of the songs.
“Stepping On Silver” is the end result of a humble songwriter’s vision. What came of the collaboration is a splendid piece of work, a record that exceeded even Mantello’s highest hopes. Well-crafted, inspired and beautifully performed, “Stepping On Silver” is the kind of album that music aficionados treasure when they discover such a rare gem.