“Steve Phillips is, without doubt, one of the greatest blues guitarists Europe has ever produced, and is currently one of the finest anywhere in the world. His involvement with MARK KNOPFLER (of Dire Straits) in the NOTTING HILLBILLIES briefly turned Phillips into a kind of rock star.” Blueprint Magazine
When performing with his band The Rough Diamonds, Steve Phillips proves his enduring status as one of the best British blues guitarists you are likely to hear. His involvement with Mark Knopfler in the Notting Hillbillies in the 90s briefly turned Phillips into a kind of rock star but he much prefers the grass roots approach of making great music with his band for any audience that simply shares his love of the blues.
During the 1968 ‘British Blues Boom’ Steve Phillips met up with a young guitarist named Mark Knopfler whilst Mark was working as a junior reporter on the Yorkshire Evening Post. Steve and Mark found that musically they had much in common and they went on to form a duo called The Duolian String Pickers. By day Mark continued working as a reporter and Steve took a job restoring paintings at Leeds City Art Gallery. They played together off and on over the next five years during which time Steve introduced Mark to the majestic lead style of blues guitarists and the technical styles of country blues guitar playing. Mark used these influences when creating his own unique style of guitar picking used in his projects ever since including of course the world famous band Dire Straits.
In the mid-1980s interest in “roots” music revived and Knopfler turned up almost unexpectedly at ‘The Grove’ pub in Leeds in May 1986 and sat in with Steve and Brendan Croker for a blues session and talk of a reunion. Steve had released his wryly entitled debut album The Best of Steve Phillips, and Mark offered to produce his next album. It would also feature Brendan and Guy Fletcher and from this evolved the collaboration known as The Notting Hillbillies. This was chronicled by an extensive tour and the release in 1990 of the multi-platinum selling album ‘Missing……Presumed having A Good Time.’
Since then there have been three further Notting Hillbillies tours, and a number of charity performances, most recently in July 2002 as Steve and Mark remain good friends.
Steve has moved from Leeds to the Whitby area of North Yorkshire and has released several highly acclaimed albums including ‘Steel-Rail Blues’, ‘Been A Long Time Gone’, ‘Just Pickin’ and ‘Every One a Gem’. He has been described as ‘one of our true great musicians-and a gentleman to boot!’ Steve Phillips & The Rough Diamonds are a five-piece band playing a wonderful easy listening country-blues style without the volume cranked up -that everyone can enjoy.
“Steve Phillips is, without doubt, one of the greatest blues guitarists Europe has ever produced, and is currently one of the finest anywhere in the world. His involvement with MARK KNOPFLER (of Dire Straits) in the NOTTING HILLBILLIES briefly turned Phillips into a kind of rock star.”