Phil Driscoll

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Phil Driscoll
Background information
Born (1947-11-09) November 9, 1947 (age 71)
Seattle, Washington, United States
GenresInspirational, gospel, R&B, patriotic, rock, country, pop, contemporary Christian, Christian country, jazz, classical
Occupation(s)Musician, singer, songwriter, producer, minister
InstrumentsTrumpet, voice, keyboards
Years active1969–present
LabelsPhil Driscoll Music Group

Phil Driscoll (born November 9, 1947) is a trumpeter, singer, composer, and producer. He performs in varying music genres and styles which include rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and patriotic music, and is best known for his work in Christian music and his longterm Christian ministry.[1][2][3] In 1985, Driscoll won the Grammy Award for Best Gospel Performance – Duo/Group for a duet with Debby Boone on "Keep the Flame Burning",[4] and he has been nominated for three additional Grammys, two for Best Gospel Performance – Male[5][6] and one for Best Gospel/Pop Album.[7] He has also won three Dove Awards for his music, and the 1999 Christian Country Music Association Award for Best Musician. In 2006, Driscoll was found guilty on 2 counts of tax evasion and one count of conspiracy, and was sentenced to serve one year in Federal prison, beginning on March 14, 2007.[8][9][10][11][12][13]

Early life and education[edit]

Phil Driscoll was born in Seattle, Washington, and when he was a small child his family moved to Spokane, where his father pastored a small church and his mother played hymns on the piano and organ. Phil played a small plastic trumpet to accompany his father's preaching. When he was five the family moved to Dallas, Texas, where his parents continued their ministry. At six Phil was given a steel guitar, and won many talent contests while still a child.[citation needed]

The family subsequently moved to Lancaster, Texas, where Phil's father became chief of maintenance for the Lancaster school system. Phil began playing the trumpet, and by the sixth grade was performing in the Lancaster High School band.[14] The family moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1959, where Phil's father resumed the ministry. Phil became principal trumpet and featured soloist in the Tulsa Youth Symphony.[15] In high school, he competed in the World Music Festival in Amsterdam, where his trumpet section won best in the world.[14] After high-school graduation, he was lead trumpet in the gospel touring band The Spurrlows. Driscoll then attended Baylor University in Waco, Texas under a music scholarship, where he formed the university's first jazz band.[16]


Early career[edit]

While a sophomore at Baylor University, he was offered a contract by Word Records and recorded his first album, A Touch of Trumpet in 1969, accompanied by the Stockholm Symphony Orchestra.[citation needed] He also won the All American College Show musical competition on CBS, beating out even The Carpenters,[17] and was booked on a USO show touring in Asia. Driscoll also performed and ministered with Billy Graham in Europe.[14] He signed with A&R Records for his secular music, and released the album Blowin' a New Mind in 1970.

National recognition[edit]

During the 1970s, Driscoll performed on national television on the Ed Sullivan, Merv Griffin, Steve Allen, Della Reese, and Arthur Godfrey shows.

In 1972, CBS Records purchased Driscoll's song catalog and gave him a job writing music for Blood Sweat & Tears (for whom he wrote "Rock & Roll Queen" and other songs)[18] and other bands.[19] He also began touring, performing, and songwriting for nearly five years with rock musician Joe Cocker,[20] and authored three of Cocker's songs – "Southern Lady", "Wasted Years", and "Boogie Baby".[21][22][23] Driscoll also wrote for and collaborated with artists such as Steven Stills, Leon Russell, Billy Preston, and 38 Special, and performed with ensembles including the London Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1974 he moved to Jacksonville, Florida, where he stayed four and a half years and opened two nightclubs, Driscoll's Disco Nite Club and Driscoll's Nice Place.[24][25]

Inspirational and other genres[edit]

Driscoll eventually became increasingly dissatisfied with his rock and roll lifestyle, and on Christmas morning in 1977, he and his fiancée turned to Christianity. He then focused his talents towards Christian ministry.[26]


In 1980, Driscoll and his family moved to Cleveland, Tennessee. Beginning with Ten Years After (1981), he began recording in the inspirational genre, producing soulful albums whose sound had an appeal to both black and white audiences.[27] He established Mighty Horn Ministries, his contemporary Christian music business, which he also shared on television. In the 1980s Driscoll also played and sang at many of Kenneth Copeland’s ministry conventions.[14]

After several more albums, Driscoll won his first GMA Dove Award in 1984 for Instrumentalist of the Year,[28] and his album I Exalt Thee (1983) received a Grammy nomination in the Best Gospel Performance – Male category.[5] In 1985 he won a Grammy Award with singer Debby Boone for Best Gospel Performance – Duo/Group, for the song "Keep the Flame Burning"[29] from Boone's album Surrender. In 1985 he signed with Benson Records,[30] and in 1986, Billboard magazine ranked him No. 9 in the Top 10 Inspirational Artists.[31]

Driscoll garnered two more Dove Award wins in the mid-1980s – for Instrumental Album of the Year for Celebrate Freedom (1985) and Instrument of Praise (1987). He released an instrumental-only album of hymns, Classic Hymns, in 1988, backed by the London National Philharmonic Orchestra.


In the 1990s, Driscoll produced more than a dozen new albums, mainly in the contemporary Christian genre. He was voted the Readers' Choice Favorite Instrumentalist in both 1990 and 1991 by Charisma magazine.[32] In 1993 he appeared on TNN's Music City Tonight.[33]

In 1996, Driscoll built a recording studio, Most High Studios, on a farm in Tennessee. He also began The Voice of Praise, a television ministry broadcast on the Inspiration Network, and released the album A Different Man, which included the hit ballad "Christ Remains".[17][34] His 1997 release, Live! With Friends, recorded live and with several other singers and musicians, included a variety of styles, moods, and genres. The album features covers of mainstream hits like "Bridge Over Troubled Water", "You Are So Beautiful", and Bob Dylan's "Gotta Serve Somebody", as well as gospel and praise songs including "His Eye Is on the Sparrow".[35]

Driscoll turned to country music with his 1998 album, Shine the Light. In 1999, he formed his own music label, Phil Driscoll Music Group, with an aim to focus on a wide variety of music styles and crossover appeal in both mainstream and Christian music communities.[36] That same year he was honored as Best Musician of the Year by the Christian Country Music Awards.[37] In the late 1990s, Driscoll's varied touring performances included playing and singing for a tour of Handel's Young Messiah to packed stadiums which seated up to 20,000.[38]


In the early 2000s, Driscoll began a new music and ministry television show, The Phil Driscoll Connection. His early 2000s albums included Spirit of America (2000), One Nation Under God (2003), Classic Hymns (2004), and Drops of Praise (2006). In 2006 he also released Vintage, which included Driscoll's versions of over a dozen classic mainstream singles such as "The Power of Love", "Old Time Rock and Roll", "The Dock of the Bay", "Lean on Me", "Stand by Me", "When a Man Loves a Woman", and "Try a Little Tenderness".[39]

In 2006 Driscoll was found guilty of failing to pay between $30,000 and $80,000 of income tax in the late 1990s, and served a one-year sentence ending in 2008.[9] Following his release, Driscoll wrote and co-produced an autobiographical film about his experiences, starring Danny Glover and Brian Dennehy.[40][41][42]

In 2008, Driscoll released the album Songs in the Key of Worship, which includes his vocal and trumpet performance of the classic hymn "I Surrender All", accompanied by guitar. He also released the album Here and Now in 2008. Driscoll continues to perform, minister, and work in a variety of media and locations, including completing his film.[43][44][45] In December 2009, he performed in Lagos, Nigeria in a 12-hour night of music and worship, with an audience of over 500,000.[46] In addition to his autobiographical film, Driscoll is also completing a music feature film, Symphony of the Universe.[14][47][48]

Historic and ceremonial national performances[edit]

Driscoll performed at the Medal of Honor ceremony in 2000, at the request of Secretary of Defense William Cohen.

Driscoll has performed at the White House for Presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.[14] He performed at Bill Clinton's inauguration in 1993, and at the 1993 lighting of the National Christmas Tree, and sang and played "America the Beautiful" at the dedication ceremony for the Clinton Presidential Center presidential library in Little Rock. Driscoll also performed at the Democratic National Conventions in 1988, 1992, 1996, and 2000.[49][50][51]

In the 1980s, Driscoll performed for, made presentations and speeches for, and composed the theme song for President Reagan's Just Say No campaign against drugs.[52][53][54][55][56] In 1999, at the personal request of Vice President Al Gore, he accepted a key ministry role at the nationally televised memorial services following the Columbine High School massacre; at the memorial, he performed and sang two songs, one of which he wrote specifically for the service.[52][57][58] On Presidents Day in 2000, Driscoll sang and played "God Bless America" at the Medal of Honor ceremony, at the request of Secretary of Defense William Cohen.[14][59]

At the 1984 Grammy Awards he played and sang "Amazing Grace", receiving a "deafening" ovation.[60] And at the emotional post-9/11 Emmy Awards ceremony in November 2001, he received a standing ovation after he played and sang "America the Beautiful".[61]

Musical style[edit]

Driscoll is known for his bluesy and varied style,[62][63] which he also infuses into gospel, inspirational, and patriotic songs. Driscoll's raspy, blues-like voice has been compared to Ray Charles, Joe Cocker[27][64] and Michael Bolton.[65] His sound ranges from classic rock to country, gospel, patriotic, R&B, pop, and classical styles.[1] He is widely known as being a rare white singer who sings in a convincing black gospel style.[66] As one independent 2006 analysis puts it, "Driscoll has a bluesy-gospel ('soul') style and sings in a course, guttural voice that sounds very much like Ray Charles."[67]

He is noted for incorporating the sound of soul, R&B, rock 'n' roll, jazz, and blues into the inspirational genre.[68] "God's funky too", he said in a 1980s interview, noting that he was keen on eliminating stereotyped opinions about inspirational music.[69] In a 1999 interview for Billboard magazine, he reiterated this, saying, "If you're a football player and you become a Christian, you don't suddenly start playing Christian football."[36] Driscoll incorporated his bluesy, soulful jazz horn-playing and singing into Christmas music in his 2000 album, The Spirit of Christmas, which includes a jazz version of "O Little Town of Bethlehem" played on muted flugelhorn and sung in a slow improvisational jazz style.[70]


Driscoll is celebrated for his virtuosic, inspirational, and quite varied trumpet playing. He is also known as one of the few trumpeters who can reach and play well in the very highest of notes and ranges.[71] His combination trumpet and singing performances are noted for their smooth transitions from trumpet playing to singing to glossolalia, and back again.[67] And in addition to his well-known trumpet playing and his distinctive style of singing, Driscoll is also skilled on the keyboard, and on the flugelhorn, and he also performs on the shofar, cornet, and flumpet.

Driscoll's performances and recordings include many mainstream and bluesy works such as "The Long and Winding Road", "You're the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me", "You Are So Beautiful", "You Don't Know Me", "Georgia on My Mind", "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?", "You Raise Me Up", and "Amazing Grace". In ceremonial and patriotic performances he is known for his virtuosic and inspirational trumpet and vocal renditions of "America the Beautiful", "God Bless America", "The Battle Hymn of the Republic", and other patriotic favorites.

Personal life[edit]

Driscoll married his wife Lynne in 1978. He and Lynne have two children, Jamie and Danielle, and Driscoll has a son, Shawn, from his previous marriage to Patti McDavitt. Driscoll has four grandchildren. He married Darlene Bishop in 2018. He resides in Ohio. [72] Driscoll lived in Cleveland, Tennessee from the early 1980s. In the mid-2000s he relocated to Greensboro, Georgia.[73] Driscoll is an accomplished pilot, with commercial, instrument and multi engine ratings.[74]

Cocaine Trafficking Indictment[edit]

In January 1978, Driscoll was one of 32 people indicted by a Texas federal grand jury on charges of being part of a cocaine trafficking conspiracy.[75][76][77][78] Also indicted was actress Linda Blair. Driscoll was arrested after nineteen federal agents surrounded his home during a sting operation stemming from a government wiretap.[79] Following the indictment, Driscoll wrote a letter to the court stating that he had “found God” about three weeks before his arrest, on Christmas Day 1977. Driscoll was charged with three felony counts of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, but was eventually allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of cocaine possession. He was placed on probation and his criminal record later expunged.[75][76][77][78] Driscoll said in a 1986 newspaper interview that he was "doing a lot of drugs", and he was reported to have had a $5,000 dollar a day cocaine habit, prior to his religious conversion and subsequent arrest.[80][81]



Year Album Peak chart position Record label Record producer
1970 Blowin' a New Mind Word
1972 A Touch of Trumpet
1978 Acclaimed and Framed
1981 Ten Years After Sparrow Records
1982 Songs in the Spirit (Vol. 1 & 2)
What Kind of Love
Sound the Trumpet Sparrow Phil Driscoll, Lari Goss
1983 I Exalt Thee 15
1983 Covenant Children 26 Phil Driscoll, Lari Goss
1984 Celebrate Freedom 33
1985 Power of Praise 12
1986 Amazing Grace and Other Favorites 23
1986 The Spirit of Christmas JCI Associated Driscoll, Goss, Ken Pennell
Instrument of Praise 7 Word
1987 Make Us One 10 Compose Records Driscoll, Bill Maxwell
1989 Classic Hymns (Vol. 1 & 2) Word
1990 Inner Man 21 JCI Associated Phil Driscoll
Gabe and the Good News Gang Mighty Horn
1992 The Picture Changes 28
1993 Heaven and Nature Swing 33 Bill Maxwell, Ralph Carmichael
1993 In His Presence
1994 Selah I
Warriors 12 Word
1996 All Glory All Honor
A Different Man Word/Epic Chris Harris
Selah II
1997 LIVE with Friends Mighty Horn Phil Driscoll
Live Praise & Worship
1998 Shine the Light Phil Driscoll, Jimmy Johnson
1999 Simple Song Phil Driscoll
1999 The Quiet Bill Maxwell
2000 Plugged In
2003 One Nation Under God
2006 Drops of Praise Koch Records Phil Driscoll, Jimmy Johnson
2008 Songs in the Key of Worship
Here and Now Mighty Horn


  • 2006: Vintage (Koch Records)
  • 1981: 10 Years After (Sparrow)
  • 1991: His Best (JCI Associated)


  • 1986: The Power of His Presence (Most High Music)
  • 1987: The Spirit of Christmas – A Concert Celebration (Mighty Horn)
  • 2001: Phil Driscoll Live at Eagle Mountain International Church (Phil Driscoll Ministries)



  1. ^ a b Phil Driscoll: About – Official Facebook page
  2. ^ "A record sold is a compliment... but a rescued soul is accomplishment". Mighty Horn Ministries. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved July 30, 2013.
  3. ^ Long, Jim. "Phil Driscoll: A little jazz, a little rock, a little R&B and a big difference". Campus Life. February 1994, Vol. 52 Issue 7, p. 42.
  4. ^ Grammy Awards – Past Winners Search: Phil Driscoll.
  5. ^ a b Grammy Awards 1984.
  6. ^ Hunt, Dennis. "'We Are The World' Scores In Grammy Nominations". Los Angeles Times. January 10, 1986.
  7. ^ Chromelin, Richard and Dennis Hunt. "Grammys—Round 1: Pop music". Los Angeles Times. January 11, 1991.
  8. ^ "Phil Driscoll Found Guilty Of 3 Counts Of Tax Evasion". The Chattanoogan. September 18, 2006. Archived from the original on December 2, 2008. Retrieved 2009-10-13. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  9. ^ a b "Trumpeter Sentenced For Tax Evasion". Encore. January 25, 2007.
  10. ^ Reilly, Peter J (September 7, 2012). "Phil Driscoll To Supreme Court - Enough Not Enough". Forbes magazine. Retrieved September 3, 2015.
  11. ^ "Grammy-winning trumpeter Phil Driscoll convicted in tax case". USA Today. June 8, 2006. Retrieved September 3, 2015.
  12. ^ Wood, Robert W (February 15, 2012). "A Non-Whitney Grammy Tale of Clergy Tax Greed". Forbes Magazine. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
  13. ^ Poovey, Bill (September 1, 2005). "Trumpeter Phil Driscoll Pleads Not Guilty To Tax Evasion". The Tuscaloosa News. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g Hemry, Melanie. "A High Note of Victory" Archived 2016-03-05 at the Wayback Machine. Believers magazine. Kenneth Copeland Ministries. November 2011. Alternate link:
  15. ^ Tulsa Youth Symphony – History Archived 2013-10-02 at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ Phil Driscoll – Profile at In-Tune Productions
  17. ^ a b All Music Guide: The Definitive Guide to Popular Music. Hal Leonard Corporation, 2001. p. 599.
  18. ^ Songs by Phil Driscoll. Hit Parade. 1977.
  19. ^ Windplayer, Volume 10. Windplayer Publications, 1993. p. 10.
  20. ^ Brothers, Jeffrey Lee. Hot Hits: Adult Contemporary Charts 1978-2001. AuthorHouse, 2003. p. 78.
  21. ^ "Southern Lady". Copyright Encyclopedia. 1978.
  22. ^ "Wasted Years". Copyright Encyclopedia. 1978.
  23. ^ "Boogie Baby". Copyright Encyclopedia. 1978.
  24. ^ "Former locals play a role at the Emmys". Florida Times-Union. November 7, 2001.
  25. ^ "DuvALUMNI: Jazz". June 15, 2013.
  26. ^ "Testimony". Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  27. ^ a b Carpenter, Bil. Uncloudy Days: The Gospel Music Encyclopedia. Hal Leonard Corporation, 2005. pp. 125–126.
  28. ^ a b c d Dove Awards – Instrumental
  29. ^ Phil Driscoll and Debby Boone: "Keep The Flame Burning" on YouTube
  30. ^ Darden, Bob. "Gospel Lectern". Billboard. November 30, 1985. p. 34.
  31. ^ "Number One Awards: Top Inspirational Artists". Billboard. December 27, 1986. p. Y-43.
  32. ^ Rolf, Carol. "Phil Driscoll to deliver message at Daze of Praise". Log Cabin Democrat. April 23, 2000.
  33. ^ Music City Tonight: The Killer Bees, Phil Driscoll. TV Guide. Triangle Publications, 1993.
  34. ^ Phil Driscoll - A Different Man at Cross Rhythms
  35. ^ Phil Driscoll - Live! With Friends at Cross Rhythms
  36. ^ a b "Phil Driscoll Launches New Label". Billboard. November 20, 1999. p. 41.
  37. ^ a b Price, Deborah Evans. "Fox Bros., Cash Reap CCMAs". Billboard. November 13, 1999. p. 36.
  38. ^ Profile at Cinder Entertainment Archived 2013-08-19 at the Wayback Machine
  39. ^ Vintage – Phil Driscoll at Napster
  40. ^ Kay, Jeremy. "Danny Glover, Derek Luke join Phil Driscoll prison drama". Screen Daily. November 2, 2012.
  41. ^ Obenson, Tambay A. "AFM News: Danny Glover, Derek Luke Will Play Prison Inmates In 3D Drama Long Day Journey". Indie Wire. November 2, 2012.
  42. ^ Long Day Journey at the Internet Movie Database
  43. ^ Official Facebook. April 24, 2013.
  44. ^ Phil Driscoll - Amazing Grace the Seattle Sessions. Saboa Entertainment. 2012.
  45. ^ Official Facebook. July 13, 2011.
  46. ^ The Experience Lagos Nigeria with Phil Driscoll and Friends. December 4, 2009. He preaches at Solid Rock church.
  47. ^ Symphony of the Universe at the Internet Movie Database
  48. ^ Symphony of the Universe at Mighty Horn Ministries
  49. ^ Darden, Bob. "Gospel Lectern". Billboard. October 17, 1992. p. 50.
  50. ^ Center for Gifted Education. The Road to the White House: Electing the American President. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 2002. p. 184.
  51. ^ "Democratic National Convention: Closing Musical Presentation" C-SPAN. July 13, 1992.
  52. ^ a b Phil Driscoll Archived 2014-04-16 at the Wayback Machine at Terajay Music.
  53. ^ "Christian Music on Bill at Six Flags". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. March 31, 1989. p. D6. "Christian musician Phil Driscoll, whose repertoire includes an original anti-drug song titled 'Just Say No,' will perform tonight at the Mount Paran Church of God."
  54. ^ Guest, Lisa. "Artists Get Involved in 'Just Say No' Campaign". Contemporary Christian Music. June 1987, Vol. 9, Issue 12.
  55. ^ "Renowned Trumpet Player to Perform". Waycross Journal-Herald. March 19, 1987.
  56. ^ "Driscoll Concert Thursday Night". The Gadsden Times. January 4, 1988.
  57. ^ Warren, Lindy. "Christian Music Offers Hope in Wake of Littleton Shooting" Archived 2010-06-08 at the Wayback Machine. CCM Update. May 3, 1999.
  58. ^ Phil Driscoll at the Columbine High School massacre memorial service on YouTube
  59. ^ Kozaryn, Linda D. "'Pentagon Pops' Salutes Military Heroes" Archived 2013-07-14 at the Wayback Machine. U.S. Department of Defense, American Forces Press Service. February 24, 2000.
  60. ^ Ehrlich, Ken. At the Grammys!: Behind the Scenes at Music's Biggest Night. Hal Leonard Corporation, 2007. pp. 46–47.
  61. ^ Phil Driscoll at the 53rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on YouTube
  62. ^ Phil Driscoll – Bio at AllMusic
  63. ^ Mortenson, Gary. "Ed Landreth Auditorium Concert: Phil Driscoll". International Trumpet Guild. May 22, 2003.
  64. ^ Dan Peters, Steve Peters, and Cher Merrill. What About Christian Rock? Bethany House Publishers, 1986. p. 112.
  65. ^ "Phil Driscoll: A Different Man". 1 October 1996. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  66. ^ Schmid, Will. A Tribute to Woody Guthrie & Leadbelly: Teacher's Guide. R&L Education, 1990. p. TG-9.
  67. ^ a b Arweck, Elisabeth and Peter Jeffrey Collins. Reading Religion in Text and Context: Reflections of Faith and Practice in Religious Materials. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2006. p. 111.
  68. ^ Dan Peters, Steve Peters, and Cher Merrill. What About Christian Rock? Bethany House Publishers, 1986. p. 187.
  69. ^ Phil Driscol Interview (video). Circa 1980s.
  70. ^ Phil Driscoll – "O Little Town of Bethlehem" (Live Jazz) on YouTube
  71. ^ Harnum, Jonathan. Sound the Trumpet: How to Blow Your Own Horn Archived 2014-02-01 at the Wayback Machine. Sol Ut Press, 2006. pp. 135, 148.
  72. ^ Mighty Horn Ministries – Biography
  73. ^ Mighty Horn Ministries – Contact.
  74. ^ "Phil Driscoll biography". CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  75. ^ a b "Former locals play a role at the Emmys". The Florida Times Union. November 7, 2001. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  76. ^ a b "Gospel Musician Phil Driscoll Faces Sentencing Thursday". The Chatanoogan. January 21, 2007. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  77. ^ a b Odom, Gene (2002). Lynyrd Skynyrd: Remembering the Free Birds of Southern Rock. Broadway Books. pp. 182–183. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  78. ^ a b Cusic, Don (2010). Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music: Pop, Rock, and Worship. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 260–261. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  79. ^ Hemry, Emily (November 2011). Phil Driscoll: High Note of Victory. Believers Voice of Victory. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  80. ^ "Trumpeter Convicted of Tax Plot". The Florida Times Union. June 10, 2006. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  81. ^ "Ex-bs&t Member To Trumpet Christian Message In Easton". The Morning Call. June 13, 1992. Retrieved September 27, 2015.

External links[edit]