Skip to Navigation

A Boot and a Shoe

News & Reviews

  • NY Times: Sam Phillips's "Don't Do Anything" Shines with "Telling" Tunes of "Terse Elegance"

    New York Times music critic Jon Pareles visits some albums he missed in 2008 amidst the deluge of new releases and recommends Sam Phillips's Don't Do Anything as one that was "worth the wait." Through the songs' Beatles-esque sound and "casual, confiding side" of Sam's vocals, says Pareles, comes "the terse elegance of songs about love gone bad and the lessons and possibilities it leaves behind, songs that only become more telling because they stay so deliberately unadorned."

  • Nonesuch Artists Continue to Draw Year-End Accolades

    Since the last Nonesuch Journal entry of 2008, which laid out scores of year-end best-of lists featuring Nonesuch albums and artists, still more critical praise has come in placing this music among the year's best.

About this Album

In a recent concert review, The New York Times says, “If understatement could peak, it would have when Sam Phillips performed.” That’s an apt description for Phillips’ new album, A Boot and a Shoe, which is produced by T Bone Burnett and derives much of its power from restraint and subtlety. The arrangements are remarkably simple, consisting mostly of acoustic guitar, electric bass, drums and Phillips’ vocals. The playing and singing are hushed throughout, although the reverberations of loosened drums and aging guitars are audible at every turn.

The record’s thirteen new songs unfold with the intimacy and organic coherence of a live show. Musically dynamic but never cluttered, the album includes occasional piano vamps and string arrangements by Patrick Warren, electric bass by T Bone Burnett and drums by Jim Keltner, Jay Belarose and Carla Azar (Autolux).

A Boot and a Shoe, is Phillips’ eighth studio album and follows her critically lauded Nonesuch Records debut, Fan Dance (2001), which also was produced by Burnett. Fan Dance initiated a stylistic departure that A Boot and a Shoe, builds upon: the records’ spare, spacious sound diverges from the lush production of Omnipop (1996) and the Grammy-nominated Martinis and Bikinis (1994), which featured Phillips’ hit “I Need Love.” In addition to her acclaimed albums, Phillips has contributed music to a number of major films and television shows, including the popular WB show “Gilmore Girls.”

Although he has collaborated with Phillips on many of her albums, Burnett’s role in her most recent two recordings is particularly vital, as he is well known for helping artists explore new ground. Perhaps best known for producing the six million-selling O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, Burnett has produced albums by The Wallflowers, Gillian Welch, Roy Orbison, Elvis Costello, and others.


Sam Phillips, vocals (1-13), guitar (1, 2, 6, 8-13), rhythm guitar (3-5, 7)
Carla Azar, drums (1-5, 7-10, 12, 13)
The Section Quartet:
Eric Gorfain, violin (1, 3, 6-8)
Daphne Chen, violin (1, 3, 6-8)
Richard Dodd, cello (1, 3, 6-8)
Leah Katz, viola (1, 3, 6-8)
Jay Belarose, drums (2, 9, 13)
David Piltch, bass (2)
T Bone Burnett, bass (3, 5-8, 10)
Jim Keltner, drums (3, 5, 7, 8)
Marc Ribot, guitar (3), electric guitar (5)
Patrick Warren, piano (3, 6), pump organ (6)
Chris Bruce, guitar (12), electric guitar (4)
Mike Elizondo, bass (9, 13)

Produced by T Bone Burnett
Recorded by Mike Piersante at Sunset Sound Records, Hollywood, CA; The Village, West Hollywood, CA; Stagg Street Studios, Van Nuys, CA
Assistant Engineers: Brian Hearity, Jason Wormer, Emile Kelman, Ben Mumphrey
Mixed by T Bone Burnett and Mike Piersante
Mastered by Gavin Lurssen
Production Coordination: Ivy Scoff
Technical Support: Paul Ackling
Executive Producer: David Bither
String arrangements on track 3, 6-8 and 11 by Patrick Warren

All songs composed by Sam Phillips

Design by Doyle Partners
Cover photographs by Eg Project/Photonica (left) and Glen Erler/Photonica (right)


All formats of this album are available from Nonesuch in the United States only.

Please install the Adobe Flash player in order to see this content.