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WPA Band Becomes Full-Time Concern

Of the Oakland Press

Posted: Friday, December 4, 2009

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The all-star Works Progress Administration band was something of an accident, according to the group’s Glen Phillips.

“We didn’t really have anything in mind when we got together,” says Phillips, 38, the frontman for Toad the Wet Sprocket who also maintains an active solo career. “We didn’t think about touring or putting a record out. We figured it would take care of itself.”

It largely has. WPA’s self-titled album rolled out in August, containing writing and playing by Phillips, Sean and Sara Watkins from Nickel Creek, Benmont Tench from Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers, Pete Thomas and Davey Faragher from Elvis Costello’s Imposters, well-credentialed session hand Greg Leisz and singer-songwriter Luke Bulla. Phillips acknowledges that getting permissions for the artists to appear on the disc made things “complicated,” and getting the group on the road was even more difficult, although the touring edition of WPA settled into Phillips, Bulla and Sean Watkins.

“We’ve made it more about the three of us as this kind of core group, and we have these two other guys that we’re touring with, and we just love what it’s become and want to continue with it,” says Phillips, who hopes to record a second WPA album in 2010.

“The entire project, as far as the people and the music itself, has been wonderful, top to bottom. It’s certainly not a smart year to start an indie band and be out here on our own, but aside from that large, looming problem, it’s been wonderful — and still is.”

WPA performs at 8 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 5) at The Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor. Tickets are $20. Call (734) 761-1451 or visit www.theark.org.

Web Site: www.theark.org

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