Phil Petersen or Flyby Phil as he is known by auto racing fans, has had a varied musical career. Currently he is professor of Astronomy and Physics at Solano College in Northern California, but has recently written 12 songs, included on his CD, 'Impossible Mountain' accompanying his adventure novel by the same name. The songs express a love of the outdoors and mountain climbing, as well as romantic love. They go back to the roots of country, folk, and rock and roll, and are performed with simplicity and power, with melodies that people say stick in their minds and don't go away. Phil Petersen began singing professionally in Philadelphia in the late 1960's at coffee houses, doing his original songs. He is listed at the Main Point as having played there more than any other performer. Tom Paxton said he was bound to be one of the 'bright lights' among contemporary folk songwriters. He and Bob Patterson got together as 'Petersen-Patterson' and recorded a single, 'Desmonina' which was number one for a time on Philadelphia radio stations. In 1967, they were invited by Vanguard records to record a sample album at their studio in New York City. Though the producer wanted to market the album, the owners were under financial restrictions at the time and did not. In 1973, Phil moved to New York City, landed a songwriting contract with Herb Gart, agent for Don Maclean (American Pie) and began singing regularly as the featured performer at 'Whole Wheat and Wild Berries' restaurant in the Village. He has performed at several Greenwich Village establishments as well the 'Sand Mountain' Coffehouse in Houston Texas where he met Jerry Jeff Walker (Mr. Bo Jangles) who eventually recorded his song, 'Mountains of Mexico' which topped the charts in Europe. He also performed as second act behind the Grateful Dead at the Jabberwocky in Berkeley California. While in New York, he recorded a lead guitar break at Columbia Record Studios on the number one single, 'At Seventeen' by Janis Ian. He performed on local TV and the New Haven Folk Festival.
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