When I first met Phil Dillon, I sat in row of bleachers with other parents as I watched him do an amazing job as a dynamic tennis coach to my son and other kids. I was pretty sure he wasn’t a Nashville native and he sounded like he may even be from up-state New York like me. Sure enough, upon meeting Phil, not only was he from up-state New York, but from Buffalo where I was born and I also learned he was a very successful producer, engineer, singer, songwriter and musician. Suffice to say, we hit it off with much in common.
Phil heard Frank Sinatra sing “All The Way” on the radio in 1960 at his grandparent’s house as a kid and was hooked. He sang in both church and school and by the 5th grade started to play drums, playing along with Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich records. After playing bass drum and snare in grammar school, Phil started playing guitar and wrote his first song at 11. After building a long career as a musician in Buffalo, Phil started visiting Nashville and realized that Music City was the place to be to keep his career moving forward. One of Nashville’s “A Team” keyboard players, Steve Nathan, told Phil, “If you want to hunt tigers, you have to go to where the tigers are.” Phil had successful friends like Steve, Harry Stinson and Stuart Ziff who were there to help him integrate into the Nashville scene.
Finally moving to Nashville in the fall of 1994, Phil hit the ground running and immediately started working with Stuart Ziff, Billy Henderson, Carson Whitsett, Kim Parent, Tim Loftin, Barry Walsh, Tommy Spurlock, Mike Rojas, Gary Morse, Bob Britt, Maxwell Schauf and many more great Nashville musicians and songwriters. In 1999, Phil started working with Jimmy Nalls, co-producing records for Rick Moore & The Mr. Lucky Band. They worked on Jimmy’s critically acclaimed “Ain’t No Stranger” album. In 2000, Phil was inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame.
Phil has worked on other great projects over the years, including Michael McGrew’s “I’d Like to Be the Man” (co-produced with Harry Stinson), “The Amazing World of Doc Butt,”, a 16-piece big band endeavor produced by Bob Moore, featuring “Ranger Doug”, Boots Randolph, Bill Pursell, Kenny Malone and many others.
Phil began playing with T Graham Brown in 2003, spending the next six years playing acoustic guitar and singing background vocals at venues like Bluebird Café, Wildhorse Saloon, The Trapp, on GAC Classic and over thirty appearances on The Grand Ole Opry. He went on to record and co-produce T Graham Brown’s “The Present” album with T and Mike Caputy. In 2007, Phil met Jim Tract and recorded and mixed all the projects on Adroit Records. Most recently, Phil has produced and recorded Bill Edwards’ “Here Lately” album and David Nipper’s self-titled EP.
In addition to his incredible list of musical accomplishments and collaborations, Phil also has built an impressive career as a PTR Certified Tennis Teaching Pro for the last 31-years. He’s held several positions as Head Pro at Country Clubs and with the YMCA. Phil currently serves as the Head Professional at Langford Farms Club in Old Hickory. Phil and his wife Jane have two grown boys, Andrew and Chris, and are a great family Donelson is lucky to have as neighbors.
Check out Phil’s website about his studio and publishing company, Nickel City Music.
- Someday/Together We’ll Grow Old (Written by James Ralston, Phil Dillon)
- Mister Please Understand (Written by Phil Dillon)
- Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough (Written by Phil Dillon)
- How It Feels (Written by Phil Dillon)
- Now That We’re Not a Family (Written by Phil Dillon)
- Hey Brother (Written by Phil Dillon & Bill Edwards)
- I Sleep With One Eye Open (Written by Phil Dillon & Bill Edwards)
- Walkaway Joe (Written Vince Melamed & Greg Barnhill)
- Through The Eyes of a Child (Written by Phil Dillon, Stuart Ziff, Kim Parent)
- Never Be The Same (Bill Edwards)
- Drive (David Nipper)