Phil Williams

Recent Articles

‘Give It Everything’: Locals Gather at New Canaan Music for Session with ‘Steely Dan’ Touring Members

New Canaan’s Will Cuoco, back home between his junior and senior years at the University of Vermont, dropped by his old workplace on Friday night to attend a night of music with two professionals currently touring with one of his favorite acts. Steely Dan, an innovative jazz rock outfit that attained global fame in the 1970’s and ‘80s, has been “very influential for me,” Cuoco, a 2014 NCHS graduate, said as he and others gathered at New Canaan Music downtown to see and play with a pair of the band’s touring members, keyboardist Jim Beard and guitarist Jon Herington. “They strike that perfect balance of complexity and accessibility,” Cuoco said. “I’m so curious as to Beard and Herington’s own process, I’ve heard them talk about having every note fit together, making everything choreographed and pre-planned. I’m personally wondering how to avoid a song becoming too structured.”

Seats at the event cost $100, and by 7:45 p.m. 16 musicians and fans sat down across from Herington and Beard as they answered questions about their careers, improvisation techniques, musical philosophies and songwriting tips. Continue Reading →

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‘Take It to the Next Level’: New Canaan Music Moving to Main Street

New Canaan Music is poised to move this summer from its original location in “the alley” on Elm Street to a larger, more conspicuous space on Main Street, officials say—a great sign for the locally owned business as well as for a block that’s seen merchants vacate street-level storefronts in the past year. Owner Phil Williams said that after four years in the alley near Chef Luis, “we are ready to take it up to the next level” in moving to 90 Main St., most recently the temporary site of the New Canaan Post Office, near the corner of East Avenue. “We will have bigger and better lesson rooms, a bigger and better store and a more prominent location,” said Williams, a town resident with a son in public schools here and who serves on the Board of Directors of the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce. “This really puts us more on the map. This [the original location] has been a good place that has really served us well for the past four years—I can’t believe it has already been that many years—but it has given us a good launching point to take it to the next level.”

New Canaan Music’s space will increase by more than half as much in the new space, from approximately 1,200 to 2,000 square feet, Williams said. Continue Reading →

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‘Art in the Windows’ Kicks Off Downtown Thursday

Dozens of New Canaan shops will stay open late Thursday, as live music, artist receptions, wine tastings and other special events are held throughout the business district to mark the launch of Art in the Windows. Residents are invited to stroll the streets of New Canaan from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. for the 10th annual Art in the Windows. A record-70 stores are participating in this year’s event, featuring photos, paintings, sculpture and mixed media pieces from as many artists, 31 of them New Canaanites (see gallery above), according to Hilary Witmann, executive director of the Carriage Barn Arts Center. The Waveny-based nonprofit organized the event, which is sponsored by Bankwell, New Canaan Board of Realtors and Hutchinson Tree Care Specialists, in partnership with the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce. “It’s great that we have more stores than ever and a lot of New Canaan artists, which is one of the things I really wanted to bring in this year, in addition to the great artists who are members of the Carriage Barn and exhibit in a lot of shows,” Witmann told NewCanaanite.com. Continue Reading →

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Editorial: ‘Moral’ Shopping in New Canaan

One lesson I learned in seven years of studying Latin in the New Canaan Public Schools involves the word ‘mos.’ It’s a noun and in the singular it means habit or custom. In the plural, ‘mores,’ it translates as character because, taken together, a person’s habits and customs form his or her character. It’s where we get our word ‘morals.’

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At the time I launched NewCanaanite.com, nearly three years ago, convenience and cost alone guided my own spending habits. I only asked ‘Can I find it here in New Canaan?’ if I were downtown already and needed something straightaway. Yet today, before purchasing or signing up for anything, I consciously seek out a local retailer or service provider—a habit so ingrained that it’s become second nature, part of my character. Continue Reading →

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PHOTOS: Waveny Park Conservancy’s Inaugural ‘Tailgate’ Party and Fundraiser Draws Hundreds

The Waveny Park Conservancy’s inaugural fundraiser came off in high style on Saturday night, as an estimated 400 to 500 locals enjoyed the cherished park’s first-ever tailgate party under a full “hunter’s moon.”

Town resident Joe Scarborough’s “Morning Joe Music” band played the balcony out back of Waveny House and had scores of the revelers dancing, while others warmed by a firepit and mingled about some 80 cars parked in four rows, before a massive inflatable TV broadcasting college football. (more…) Continue Reading →

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