In his teens, twenties and thirties Phil Mellen, alias BlackSheepLad, played and sang in various bands (Rainmaker, Serious, Hat Band, Excalibur, The Grapefruit) to little success. So he settled into a successful 25 year career in education. 

In March 2020 he became ill with Coronavirus and this led to ongoing health issues and redundancy. The period of imposed isolation and inactivity lead to a burst of song-writing inspired by lockdown, love, mortality and binge-watching zombie TV programmes! 

Some of these songs made it onto his first self-released EP ‘Sleeping alone in the daytime’. One of the songs written and recorded was ‘Better this Christmas’, a throwback to the great Christmas songs of the 70s and 80s. Now re-released with a new arrangement and mix for Christmas 2021, it attempts to bring new hope after two years of COVID restrictions and will also try to raise money for the NHS and in particular for research into Long Covid. The song makes good use of bells, strings, brass and guitar solos.

Phil Mellen talks about his song, "Better This Christmas"
 I’ve always loved Christmas songs and have a Christmas playlist that I listen to across the festive season. I wanted to add something to that genre of Christmas cheer and we need that more than ever now. Hopefully this song will give people some enjoyment and happiness at the end of a difficult year.

Melancholic in places, reflective and angry in others, this song plays out the rollercoaster of emotions of a relationship hurtling towards the end of its life. Ridiculously catchy, you’ll be humming this all ​day after just one listen! Beautifully melodic, the gentle rhythm betrays the anger hidden within the track’s lyrics, building into a crescendo of guitars, drums, mellotron and harmonies.

Awayday Radio Magazine
(on Pantomime)

BlackSheepLad's new album only expands on his great collection of songs - you can really hear the progression and evolution of his songwriting, With songs like the opener "Homeland" which is a calm and mellow tune about his childhood town, and then the eerie and haunting sound of "Pantomime" with violins and more of a full band sound behind Phil and his ukulele. It's a real great listen and well worth checking out!

Just Th​e Crust

Another lovely release from BlackSheepLad

 “Pantomime” has an eerie atmosphere to it, bringing a new level to Phil’s music that we’ve not really seen before! The vocal melodies in the chorus are great, and the track sounds fantastic. Another great tune in BlackSheepLad’s discography!

Bread Records

Songs on this EP should be those that have the longevity to push BlackSheepLad beyond anything you can imagine. I can see these songs being used many times and for many things. I use the songs to just relax and the same time put a smile on my face,

Electric Music Magazine

Great lyrics, 
wonderful rhymes

Mike Garry


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