Phil Madeira is no stranger to Christian music fans, but the noted songwriter and producer has worked with some of the best in music history. From Elvis Costello and Emmylou Harris to Dave Matthews and Patty Griffin, Madeira is undoubtedly an accomplished musician and the Rhode Island native says he’s currently enjoying an incredible creative streak.
Last year’s celebrated Mercyland album featured The Civil Wars, Harris and Mat Kearney, but Phil’s latest work, P.M., delivers a darker, more personal side of the artist. Released in tandem with God on the Rocks, Madeira’s new memoir, long time fans can finally enjoy new facets of this decorated artist.
CCM: The new album is quite different from last year’s Mercyland. Can you talk about the difference?
Phil Madeira: It’s definitely a departure from the Mercyland project. I didn’t want to follow Mercyland with this somewhat gospel-sounding, obviously spiritual record, although that stuff’s hard to get away from. It’s there. This record is definitely a much darker project than Mercyland was. It’s called P.M., which of course are my initials, but it’s also kind of a hint in terms of it having more songs that would relate to the dark night of the soul versus the joy of spirituality and stuff.
CCM: What informs that decision of wanting such a departure?
Phil: I’m working on another Mercyland project, but I also feel like I don’t want to be that guy. I don’t want to be known as that guy who’s always singing songs about God’s love, just like I don’t want to be the guy who’s always singing a death song, you know? This record has its Gospel moments, but I chose them very carefully.
CCM: How far back does the idea of the book go and wanting to get that story out there?
Phil: I’ve always written. I remember back in the day Jimmy Abegg put together a project after Rich Mullins died called Ragamuffin Prayers, and so I wrote an essay in that book. I wrote a piece in that book about praying for my dad who had Alzheimer’s. And then Steve Hindalong did a book as well, so I wrote a piece in that one as well.
So I’ve known I had this ability and I just started writing for the heck of it, and then it just turned into a book—my story—and here it is. The book is really about trying to hang onto my faith, but really dispense with so much of what Orthodox Christianity insists upon, which I’m not interested in.
For more information, visit http://philmadeira.net.