As a teenager in Cold War-era Germany, Phil Lomac witnessed the Berlin Wall come crashing down, quite literally. That may be why the now in his 40s singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s music is so eclectic, displaying little regard for the self-imposed barriers of genre.
Lomac has been either performing solo or playing in North Carolina bands since 1993. His three solo records have garnered critical acclaim for their mix of alt-rock and roots music with his most recent solo release, 2017’s Northern Cities, Southern Stars, playing like a post-punk update of Bare Trees-era Fleetwood Mac. One of his groups, Senatobia, was a top 10 DIY pick from Performing Songwriter in 2003. But for marketing purposes, Lomac’s pensive, hand-crafted modern guitar pop is hard to pin down.
Instead of focusing his sound into a specific genre, Lomac draws on music he likes and artists he respects — ’80s new wave, the alt-country rock of Wilco and the ’70s Laurel Canyon sound exemplified by singer-songwriters like Neil Young and Jackson Brown. Lomac unabashedly credits his own eclectic leanings to growing up in the shadow of the Berlin Wall. His parents were missionaries who moved their family to the divided city when Lomac was just four years old. He lived there for 15 years, just long enough to see the barrier bisecting the city come down in 1989. Lomac remembers Berlin as a melting pot of people from all over the world, a crossroads of creativity, art and activism. Artists and musicians were on the forefront of the struggle to unite the two Germanies and end repressive Communist control. Lomac was exposed to a broad swath of music in Germany, everything from political punk to the activist reggae of Burning Spear.
“Seeing that music and art can have this impact, [that] it can change things at a very basic level, was ingrained in me early,” he says. Concurrently, Lomac picked up his father’s acoustic guitar and taught himself to play from a John Denver songbook tucked inside the guitar case. The very first record Lomac bought was Jimi Hendrix’s Live at Fillmore East, an incendiary performance that solidified Lomac’s love for guitar. When some older kids at high school started a band and needed a guitarist, Lomac started jamming with them and got hooked on making music.
Lomac has gone on to release 6 solo records along with contributing to multiple side projects, his sound described as a "poetic reflection on modern life through an acquiescent but hopeful voice" by Jon C Ireson writing for MusicNews.com.
Unlike the one-man-band approach in his solo work Lomac recruited a number of Charlotte area musicians to collaborate on his most recent project and EP Shake the Dust, music rooted in the FM country-rock sound of the 1970s, Shake the Dust, the debut five-song EP by Shake the Dust, was recorded at Old House Recording Studio in Charlotte, over five days of sessions split between February and May 2021. It was produced by the band, engineered by Chris Garges, mixed by Kenny McWilliams at Archer Avenues Studio, and mastered by Dave Harris at Studio B. If you can’t make it to North Carolina to hear Shake the Dust play live, it sounds best played loud in a car, cruising down the highway, looking for adventure with an old friend.
-Excerpts Courtesy of Pat Moran / Queen City Nerve