The Why Not? Trio originally formed in late 2007. Featuring Joan Phillips on vocals, Tim Barry on guitar and vocals and John Phillips on fretless electric bass.
In 2014 Joe McGuire, guitarist and vocalist joined the trio, which became “Why Not?.
Why Not? plays a wide variety of music from jazz standards to classic rock, folk, Celtic and contemporary pop, with its own twist on familiar favorites. Venues range from private parties to public events such as Livermore’s Harvest Festival with audiences of hundreds.
“Why Not?”…The question and the answer!
Joan first sang in the Dutch Reformed Church Choir at age five. Her grandmother took her there because there were no Southern Baptist churches in upstate New York. She cut her first record at the age of six. A 78 RPM would you believe?
Then there were high school folk groups and coffeehouses where she played nylon string guitar with a “Let’s Get out of Vietnam” sticker on the case. She spent 8 months in Heidelberg playing and singing in cafes.
She then returned to the US to became part of the San Francisco music scene in the ‘60s. Quite a scene it was! Contrary to popular belief, you could live through the 60’s and remember it. She returned to performing through the “Why Not trio”.
Tim began playing guitar at age nine, learning Beatles songs from his big brother Mike. He had a Stella nylon acoustic guitar that his brother found in a trash can. Tim still has that guitar to this day. Growing up on folk music and the British Invasion of the 1960’s, Tim honors this magical period of folk-rock music with the music he plays today. He had played in garage bands while in middle and high school and played church folk music of the times in high school and college (remember George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord?”). While taking a decades-long hiatus from playing in groups, Tim met some very nice musicians when he moved to Livermore in 2003. He began singing and playing on drop-in jam nights at a local winery graciously hosted by Steve Powell, the Singing Winemaker. This group, who enjoyed the same 60’s-70’s folk rock music also attracted Joan and John Phillips, with her voice and his bass guitar. One night one of us said to the other two “should we start a trio?”. And the obvious answer was “Why Not?”
At fifteen, John started playing bass. Why? Because his best friend got the guitar first, so he had to be the bass player. He came to be fascinated with the instrument’s sound, role, and playing experience. It quickly became quite an affair with multiple instruments over the years including Fenders, Gibsons, customs and an upright bass. Ultimately, he settled down with the Modulus Quantum fretless five string. During the time with these instruments, he played in funk, pop, rock, and jazz fusion bands as well as a stint with a full classical orchestra.
Joe picked up his first guitar at age 12. A no name beat up used acoustic guitar. The condition of the guitar did not matter as long as it stayed in tune. He would lock himself in his room for hours listening to AM radio and copied the sounds and melodies of the 60’s. That’s how he taught himself to play by ear and how he fell in love with Rock n’ Roll music. As time went by he wanted something better to play. In 1972 he bought his first electric guitar, a 1972 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe. I played and played and played and became a bit better at it. In 1974 I joined my first real band Black Rose, sometimes called Tremor. We entered the East Bay Battle of the Bands and won!! Since then I have played in several bands as part of the Bay Area music Scene – From Night Clubs to Dive Bars, Weddings, Carb Feeds, Family Gatherings, A Day at the Park, etc.. You name it we did it !! We just loved the music !!