3 Songs for People Who Say They Don’t Like Phish

While the Grateful Dead may have put jam band music on the map starting in the 1960s, the Vermont-born group Phish took up the mantle and has carried it into the future. Phish, fronted by guitar player Trey Anastasio, are known for long, live shows with elongated versions of their cult-classic songs.

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Fans of the band are often feverish or fervent. Jam bands engender great passion and their concerts can be attended by tens of thousands of people who make the music as much a lifestyle as a form of entertainment. Here below, we wanted to dive into a trio of songs from Phish that stand out both during live shows and on record. Indeed, these are three songs from Phish that have stood the test of time.

[RELATED: Phish Delivers a Killer First Performance at Sphere in Las Vegas]

“Farmhouse” from Farmhouse (2000)

Inspired by an actual note left to Anastasio and his bandmates when they were visiting a literal farmhouse, this song includes lyrics from that letter that read, “Welcome this is our farmhouse. We have cluster flies alas, And this time of year is bad.” It’s as if the song came directly to the band as they also looked up to the sky in awe out in nature. But more than the lyrics, the song just sounds full, rich, exultant, and pleasant. Anastasio sings clearly, sincerely, and the track crescendos with a lovely guitar solo. On the tune, Anastasio sings,

Welcome, this is a farmhouse
We have cluster flies alas
And this time of year is bad
We are so very sorry
There is little we can do but swat them

She didn’t beg, oh not enough
She didn’t stay when things got tough
I told a lie and she got mad
She wasn’t there when things got bad

I never ever saw the Northern lights
I never really heard of cluster flies
I never ever saw the stars so bright
In the farmhouse, things will be alright

“Bouncing Around the Room” from Lawn Boy (1990)

The band’s album Lawn Boy was released on cassette in 1990 and then on CD two years later and this track is the concluding song from the LP. But fans likely know it (and fell in love with it) more from Phish’s live album A Live One, which was released in 1995. This song, as the title suggests, is a buoyant, bouncy, lively song that really does feel like a rubber ball hitting walls and ceilings and furniture. It’s rhythms and gang vocals are playful and fun and the live recording is a classic. On it, Anastasio sings,

The woman was a dream I had
Though rather hard to keep
For when my eyes were watching hers
They closed, and I was still asleep

For when my hand was holding hers
She whispered words and I awoke
And faintly bouncing ’round the room
The echo of whomever spoke
And I awoke, and faintly bouncing ’round the room
The echo of whomever spoke

“Wading in the Velvet Sea” from The Story of the Ghost (1998)

This song is like a meditation. It’s a tune you can fall into and lose yourself. It’s a chant as much as a piece of entertainment. It’s also a play on words—waiting/wading—when you hear it audibly. Like “Farmhouse,” this song climaxes with a divine guitar solo from Anastasio that makes you feel as if a beam of light is shining directly on you. On the song, Anastasio sings,

I took a moment from my day
And wrapped it up in things you say
I mailed it off to your address
You’ll get it pretty soon unless

The packaging begins to break
And all the points I tried to make
Are tossed with thoughts into a bin
Time leaks out my life leaks in

You won’t find moments in a box
And someone else will set your clocks
I took a moment from my day
And wrapped it up in things you say
And mailed it off to you

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