11 Questions to a Nashville Musician: Phoenix Mendoza (High South)

Phoenix Mendoza (High South) (Photo by A Shot of Honky Tonk)Phoenix Mendoza is one-third of one of the hottest new acts in Music City. Along with Jamey Garner and Kevin Campos, their band High South is making mellifluous music that honors those delightful days in the 70s when country-rock reigned on the radio and my car’s 8-Track tape player.

High South’s six-song 2018 EP of original tunes, “A Change in the Wind” will simply blow you away with the best three-part harmonies you’ve heard since…. well, it’s hard not to say it, but Crosby, Stills and Nash! If you don’t believe me, listen to this live version of the EP’s lead-off cut, “Make it Better.”

In a rather bold move, High South’s latest single is a cover of “Slow Burn” from Kacey Musgrave’s recent “Golden Hour” LP. But man, it works and honest to God, I just can’t stop listening to these guys. If you love the classic tunes of CSN, Dan Fogelberg, America, etc., you will love High South. Here’s a live acoustic take on “Slow Burn” filmed while on tour.

Big in Europe since 2015, High South are road warriors, and I thank Phoenix for taking a break to do the 11 Questions. A band with a big heart, on April 17, High South will be doing a WMOT/Roots Radio sponsored benefit show for Mary’s Meals at the City Winery. I know that I will be there singing along, and you should be too!


Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?

I was born in California and raised in Arizona. I moved to Nashville on July 5, 2003 to chase the Illusive lady named music.

What are the first and the last records you bought and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?

The first album I owned was Eric Clapton Unplugged; it was a cassette. The last album I bought was I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing on vinyl. I found it in a thrift store in North Carolina while on tour.

First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?

The first concert I ever saw was Neil Diamond at the Forum in LA. The last concert I saw was Bonnie Raitt and James Taylor at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame? 

Gary Smith, a great human who helped so many people in the music business, me included, and was gone too soon. I know he’s not a musician, but there’s is no Music City without those types of people.

Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?

Coffee can be anywhere as long as they have a good Bloody Mary! Pizza is without a doubt Manny’s House of Pizza in the Arcade between 5th and 4th streets.

What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville? 

Favorites musically for me are always changing. Right now, it would be Kris Kristofferson’s The Silver Tongue Devil and I.

Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?

The flat grill burger at Robert’s Western World is the best (along with a Miller High Life to wash it down).

The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.

Well, High South has to be part of my spot, then I’d probably pick Tony Arata, Wayne Kirkpatrick and John Prine.

What are your favorite music venues to play in town?

Station Inn, Bluebird, and any other place that lets me. Ha Ha!

Name a musician who you’d like to see move here?

If it means I get to work with him, I’d have to pick John Mayer.

Finally, what’s in your musical future?

More songs and more people who want to hear them I hope…




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