After a patient and long 2-year search Cornmeal is thrilled to officially welcome fiddler Phillip Roach into the family. Phil has been a long time friend of the band and as his tenure with The Giving Tree Band came to a close in early 2014, it only made sense to bring him aboard for some sit ins and collaborations with Cornmeal over this past year. He is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist with a diverse musical palate bringing passion and unrivaled energy to the stage.
Phillip Roach began playing violin at age 5 and soon after was asked to perform with the nationally renowned Midwest Young Artists. During his time with that orchestra, he performed with his long time hero and fiddle great Mark O’Connor. His presence permanently influenced the course of Phil’s musical life, and he soon traveled down to Nashville to attend fiddle camps, where he received lessons from giants such as Vassar Clements, Darol Anger, and Mark O’Conner himself.
Phil then pursued a degree in classical violin performance, where upon graduating, he began a 3-year tenure performing with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestras, and Peoria Symphony Orchestra. Phil began recording session work in Chicago as an outlet for his love of improvisation, where he was featured on multiple recordings as a violinist, guitarist, and mandolinist for artists such as Lupe Fiasco and Company of Thieves. This led to meeting The Giving Tree Band and in 2009 he joined full time, performing hundreds of shows from coast to coast, as well as through Canada and Europe.
Some words from Phil about joining Cornmeal:
“Through my time with The Giving Tree Band, I had the pleasure of opening for Cornmeal on many shows, and took every opportunity to watch in awe as they performed their sets. When the opportunity arose to perform alongside these musicians, I was not only inspired to elevate my playing to their level, but was inspired at the transition from being a fan to being a member. I have such admiration and love for the body of work as well as the community of fans that Cornmeal has cultivated, and I am humbly motivated to honor both entities with my genuine love for this band. I always wanted to be in a band like this, and though my time here is still new, it feels like home.“
This year Cornmeal celebrates its 15 year anniversary with an official lineup, a new album and a national tour. Their next show is their hometown of Chicago at The City Winery as part of the Chicago Bluegrass and Blues Festival on February 7th.