Local Lawyer Quits Law Practice to Pursue His Passion for Music | News, Sports, Jobs

PHOTO COURTESY JEANNE M. BOES/JMBOESPHOTO Philip Masorti plays guitar on a march in New York City. Clinton County native Masorti plans to release a single. Masorti has roots in Castanea.

LOCK HAVEN — From courtrooms to music studios, one local man’s life journey has taken him to a variety of places.

Former attorney, Philip Masorti, left his criminal defense practice after more than 25 years to pursue his passions in music full-time in New York City.

Growing up in Castanea, Masorti’s family owned the farm where the Bald Eagle Creek meets the Susquehanna, as shown in their latest single, “Arrowhead.” It was there, in the western branch of Castanea, behind the Castanea Fire Company, that the events took place that inspired a folk-infused single of remembrance.

“My grandfather bought and started the farm there which consisted of the Castanea fire company. Those fields there are very fertile and when my grandfather used to plow the fields – because at that time he was successful in the meat business and he had bought the farm to raise the cattle to slaughter to sell, a bit of vertical integration,” he said. “As kids, we grew up around it, so my grandfather used to plow the fields, which he loved to do. He was doing it in the spring and my dad and I were walking behind the plow and as the rich soil would be turned over the arrowheads would be there.

Having always been interested in Native American history and history in general, looking for arrowheads was something that “resounded” with him as he liked to do “immensely” with his father. The arrowheads he and his father unearthed, Masorti kept them in a Philips cigar box – the brand of inexpensive cigars his father liked to smoke. Together, he said, they would stop and park beside Bald Eagle Creek and look for arrowheads while listening to the Phillies on the radio. These memories with his father and wishes to be more involved in the lives of his children, triggered the creation of the song, “Arrowhead.”

PHOTO PROVIDED Local musician Philip Masorti, second left, is pictured with Stan Harrison, Oz Noy, Conrad Korsch and Brian Delaney.

“My dad enjoyed it a lot. It was a really special moment I had when I was a kid. he expressed.

As Masorti grew in life, having been married, practicing law and working 60 hours a week traveling for business, he wondered if he was spending enough time with his own children.

“I finally took them to look for arrowheads because I had made it a hit point… I took them there and walked around the fields a bit. But as a metaphor for whether I was spending enough time with my children, I would go back to this and it would make me deeply sad that they think later in life – are they going to find these kinds of meaningful artifacts in their lives when they dig into life. That’s how I composed the song. he expressed.

Masorti said he had synesthesia where he could see and feel the music he was creating, through its chords and melodies.

“I have this ability that I hope to conjure up images with my songwriting. Arrowhead is something I ask people to see rather than hear,” he said.

Masorti did the complete, although “intimidating” transition from practicing law to full-time music when the pandemic began. When COVID hit in March 2020, he decided it was the perfect time to leave his firm, Masorti Law Group, at State College, and pursue his passion for music and writing.

“I was unsure of what was going to happen, so I needed to make decisions and be firm not to be in limbo because it’s so contrary to my personality. It’s time to make a transition, I’m going to do it and now I know what I’m doing if COVID comes back and moves quickly so what – I’m going to stick with my decision to switch to music,” he said.

It took him a year to get rid of the obligations he had with his law practice. When he decided to stop practicing, he had a large number of active cases left.

“I couldn’t just walk away from active clients, I had 11 months to completely level them, so I could move to town,” he said.

Once his obligations were settled, he left and moved to New York’s Upper West Side in February 2021.

With COVID still a major issue, Masorti sees no stopping the path he is currently on and is getting back to his legal roots.

Although he’s become a rising musician in New York since moving there, recording and posting live shows, Masorti didn’t start playing guitar until he was 42. Once he picked up the strings, the writing started naturally from the get-go since he’s been writing since he was 10 years old.

“It was for six months in 2005, where I was writing songs in my den before, by chance, being at the guitar shop of Mark Ross (Alley Cat Music). While waiting for him, I picked up an acoustic guitar around closing time and started playing guitar – in the back of his guitar shop, playing guitar one of my own songs. He stopped his closing process and came back and said “What is that? I didn’t hear that. What song are you playing?“I said it was something I had just made up,” he said. “He looked at me with a confused face and asked him when he started writing songs. I’ve been writing songs for months. He just looked at me and told me to play.

Over time and as many smaller shows were played, he eventually found himself in New York, recording with “some of the best people in the business.”

These people would be the musicians who would support Masorti on several of his next singles, including bassist Conrad Korsch who toured with Rod Stewart for 16 years and worked as Stewart’s musical director as well as Masorti’s musical director; lead guitarist Oz Noy who is a “major player in the city and enjoying great notoriety” according to Masorti; two saxophonists, Bob Franceshini who has played with Paul Simon and Celine Dion, and Stan Harrison who has played/worked with Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, Talking Heads and Radiohead, to name a few; and drummer Brian Delaney who had played for the New York Dolls.

These renowned members will accompany Masorti on his next single titled “Millionaire,” is due out February 25.

“I was playing solo in Brooklyn last year and a guy grabbed his saxophone and walked past me on stage while I was singing. He picked up his saxophone and randomly started playing with me. It was Bob Franceschini … I had never met him in my life before that,” he said. “Once unsolicited, we had rehearsed, he told me (Franceschini)”Phil, don’t worry about your fans and never worry about an audience… people, your fans, will find you because people will always find music with integrity.

Vanity artists with the singles he has written and released so far are influenced by Tom Waits, Lou Reed, Dire Straits and Leonard Cohen. The music is a genre fusion of Amerciana/folk and jazz with the mix of jazz musicians backing Masorti’s acoustic rhythm.

Currently, Masorti is recording eight more tracks throughout February and will travel to Ireland to record another five track EP with an Irish ensemble at the end of February. His six-track EP titled “80 East” should be released in April. The title of the EP derives from Interstate 80 East which runs from Lamar to New York, a personal connection for Masorti.

“Interstate 80 in my mind has been this linear access in my mind to where I’ve been in life. Going west at 80 at some point was a big moment in my life and going east 80 years certainly later in life is a great thing. My label is also called 80 East and I wanted to call this first record that, “ he said. “I’m really excited, I can barely contain my excitement. I’m really in the city with my songs, playing my acoustic rhythm guitar with these amazing world-renowned talented musicians and it’s killer!

To listen to Masorti’s music, find out by searching for Masorti on Spotify, Apple Music or YouTube. For more about him and his upcoming projects, check out his website at www.masortimusic.com, his Facebook and Instagram at @masortimusic.

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