Born on November 9, 1947, in Seattle, WA; married; wife's name, Lynne; children: Shawn, Jamie, Danielle. Education: Attended Baylor University, Waco, TX. Addresses: Record company--Mighty Horn Ministries, P.O. Box 2218, Cleveland, TN 37312, website: http://www.mightyhorn.com.
Trumpeter Phil Driscoll has received a Grammy Award and several Dove Awards. Although he is known best as a Christian musician, he has also released classical, country, and contemporary albums that feature a mix of instrumental and vocal tracks. Driscoll has also recorded patriotic songs, such as "The Star-Spangled Banner," "America the Beautiful," and "Battle Hymn of the Republic." In addition, he has performed at several Democratic Party conventions.In addition to playing the trumpet, Driscoll is also an accomplished singer; his voice has been compared to Joe Cocker and Ray Charles.
Driscoll was born in Seattle, Washington, where his father was the pastor of a small full-gospel church. As a toddler, he spent many services under the piano, listening to his mother thump hymns while his father preached. After two years, the family moved to Spokane, Washington, where his father spent the next two years as pastor of another church; during this period, Driscoll recalled, he often played a little yellow and red plastic trumpet on street corners to accompany his father's preaching. After that, the family moved to Dallas, Texas, where Driscoll's parents built two churches in five years.
Driscoll's father eventually became building superintendent of the Lancaster, Texas public school system, and Driscoll's life became more stable. "For the first time in my life," he recalled in his biography on the Mighty Horn website, "I began to have friends." He also met the high school band director, who encouraged him to play his father's old trumpet, and who put him in the high school band even though he was only in the sixth grade.
In 1961 Driscoll's father moved the family to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to build yet another church. Driscoll continued to play trumpet, and eventually became principal trumpet and soloist in the Tulsa Youth Symphony. He also played in his high school band, and in his senior year, helped to organize the "All-City Tulsans," a touring band. The group raised over $30,000 and is still in existence. When Driscoll graduated from high school, he received more than 50 offers of full scholarships to various universities.
Driscoll decided on a different course, and went on tour with a jazz band called Thurlow Spurr and the Spurrlows. A year later he enrolled at Baylor University, which had offered him a music scholarship. As a sophomore, he was offered a contract by Word Records, a Christian record company, and recorded his first album. His next big break came when he won the All American College Show musical competition, which aired on CBS. Six months later he was booked on a United Service Organization (USO) show touring in Asia.
The USO show led to other opportunities, including television appearances and a recording contract with A&R Records in New York for his first album. The company went out of business soon afterward, but because Driscoll was still signed to them he was not the legal owner of his own songs. This led to a five-year court battle during which Driscoll tried to get back the rights to his music. The struggle precipitated a slump in Driscoll's personal life in which he felt stale and frustrated because he could not achieve his ambitious musical goals. In his online biography he wrote, "It seemed that the harder I tried, the further removed from me were my goals."
By this time, Driscoll was married and had a son. Unfortunately, his personal difficulties led to divorce and he moved to Jacksonville, Florida, where he and some friends opened a nightclub called Driscoll's. In addition to promoting his club on radio and in advertisement, he also played at charity benefits. During this time, Driscoll put a small recording studio at the back of the club and recorded some songs he had written. Within a year, he sold one to the group Blood, Sweat & Tears.
Once again, however, Driscoll ran into personal troubles, this time with his business partner, whom he suspected of being dishonest. He sold his interest in the club, and founded a new one, while continuing to record his songs. One of them caught the attention of a CBS executive, who offered Driscoll the opportunity to coproduce his songs. In his biography Driscoll wrote that this offer "gave me a new hold and a reason to go on." In December of 1977 singer Joe Cocker invited Driscoll to tour with him.
In that same month, on Christmas, Driscoll and his second wife, Lynne, went to church for the first time in many years, and were filled with a renewed sense of dedication to their spiritural life. At church, a stranger told Driscoll he was about to go through the most traumatic event of his life. This warning proved strangely prophetic, because less than one month later, on January 20, 1978, Driscoll was arrested on charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. In his biography he wrote that he was in the shower when they arrived: "A badge emerged through the mist and a voice said, 'Mr. Driscoll, we have a warrant for your arrest. Step out of the shower; you are coming with us.'" He was released on $10,000 bond, and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of cocaine possession. He was placed on probation and his record was later expunged.
The arrest led to financial trouble. Within hours after news of the arrest was released, the bank that had financed his car wanted the loan paid back in full. In addition, he was unable to get bank loans for his business, and although he was scheduled to play at the halftime show of the Gator Bowl, that contract was canceled. Driscoll wrote, "For some time I harbored deep resentment against the police, federal government, press, and everyone connected." Driscoll admitted using cocaine, but said he had stopped on December 25, 1977, after attending church.
Driscoll returned to playing music and rebuilt his career, sometimes making two or three albums a year. In 1984 he shared a Grammy with singer Debby Boone for Best Gospel Performance for the song "Keep the Fire Burning" from Boone's album Surrender. In 1996 Driscoll built his own recording studio, Most High Studios, on a 24-acre farm outside Cleveland, Tennessee. In that same year, he began a television ministry, The Voice of Praise, broadcast on the Inspiration Network via satellite, as well as locally in New Mexico, Texas, and Georgia.
Driscoll formed the Phil Driscoll Music Group in 1999 to sell a variety of music (including pop, hip-hop, R&B, instrumental, and praise and worship) to both the Christian Booksellers Association and the mainstream market. The company's first two releases were Driscoll's albums Quiet and Plugged In. In 1999 they signed Cross Culture, a duo made up of Driscoll's son Jamie and his friend Stefan Moss. In that same year, Driscoll won the Christian Country Music Award for Best Musician as well as the Canadian Country Musical Association Award for Musician of the Year. Since then the company has produced several more of Driscoll's albums.
Driscoll told Deborah Evans Price in Billboard that he was sometimes uncomfortable with his billing as a solely Christian artist: "If you're a football player and you become a Christian, you don't suddenly start playing Christian football." However, Driscoll's Christian faith is emphasized on the website for his Mighty Horn Ministries. In an interview in Christian Concert Authority, Driscoll said, "My basis in operation is that if you have a message, the best way to get it out is to go to the masses with it, and not stay huddled in one niche. There was a time in my life when God wasn't the center of it. Now, I want to reach as many people as possible with my music and tell them what a difference He can make in their lives." Driscoll continues to tour and play at venues all over the United States.
by Kelly Winters
Phil Driscoll's Career
Played with Tulsa Youth Symphony; won All-American College Show on CBS; toured Asia in USO show; signed recording contract with A&R Records; released Blowin' a New Mind, 1970; A Touch of Trumpet, 1970; sold song to Blood, Sweat & Tears; began touring with Joe Cocker, 1977; arrested on cocaine charges, 1978; released Ten Years After, 1980; Sound the Trumpet, 1982; Covenant Children, 1983; I Exalt Thee, 1983; Celebrate Freedom, 1984; Power of Praise, 1985; Instrument of Praise, 1986; Make Us One, 1987; Warriors, 1990; Inner Man, 1990; Heaven and Nature Swing, 1993; The Picture Changes, 1994; In His Presence, 1995; A Different Man, 1996; All Glory, All Honor, 1996; began a television ministry, Voice of Praise, 1996; built a recording studio, Most High Studios, 1996; released Live With Friends, 1997; Trumpet! Voice, Heart, and Soul, 1998; Shine the Light, 1998; Let Your Love Shine, 1999; Simple Song, 1999; formed Phil Driscoll Music Group, 1999; released Heaven and Nature Sing, 2000.
Phil Driscoll's Awards
Dove Award, Best Instrumentalist, 1984, 1985; Grammy Award, Best Gospel Performance (with Debby Boone), for "Keep the Fire Burning," 1984; Dove Award, Best Instrumental Album for Instrument of Praise, 1987; Christian Country Music Award, Best Musician, 1999; Canadian Country Musical Association, Musician of the Year, 1999.
- Selected discography
- A Touch of Trumpet Word, 1970.
- Blowin' a New Mind Word, 1970.
- Sound the Trumpet Sparrow, 1982.
- Covenant Children Sparrow, 1983.
- I Exalt Thee Sparrow, 1984.
- Songs of the Spirit, Vol. 1 and 2 Sparrow, 1983.
- Celebrate Freedom Sparrow, 1984.
- Power of Praise Sparrow, 1985.
- Instrument of Praise Benson, 1986.
- Spirit of Christmas Benson, 1986.
- Make Us One Benson, 1987.
- Classic Hymns, Vol. 1 Benson, 1988.
- (With others) Ten Years After Sparrow, 1990.
- Warriors Dayspring UK, 1990.
- Inner Man AB, 1990.
- Classic Hymns, Vol. 2 Benson, 1991.
- Sound of Christmas A Mission in Music, 1991.
- Heaven and Nature Swing Word, 1993.
- Picture Changes Word, 1994.
- In His Presence HeartCry, 1995.
- A Different Man Word, 1996.
- All Glory, All Honor Most High, 1996.
- Live With Friends Word, 1997.
- Trumpet! Voice, Heart, and Soul Mighty Horn, 1998.
- Shine the Light Most High, 1998.
- Let Your Love Shine Mighty Horn, 1999.
- Christmas Box Set Phil Driscoll Music Group, 1999.
- Quiet Phil Driscoll Music Group, 1999.
- Plugged In Phil Driscoll Music Group, 1999.
- Simple Song Mighty Horn, 1999.
- Heaven and Nature Sing Phil Driscoll Music Group, 2000.
June 8, 2006: Driscoll was convicted of conspiracy and income tax evasion. Source: USA Today, www.usatoday.com/life/people/2006-06-08-driscoll_x.htm, June 8, 2006.
- Powell, Mark Allen, editor, Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music, Hendrickson, 2002.
- Billboard, November 13, 1999, p. 36; November 20, 1999, p. 41.
- El Paso Times (Texas), June 11, 2000, p. 1F.
- Florida Times Union (Jacksonville, FL), November 7, 2001, p. B1.
- "Phil Driscoll," Christian Concert Authority, http://www.ccauthority.com/phildriscoll.htm (September 26, 2003).
- "Jamsline Biography: Phil Driscoll," Jamsline, http://www.jamsline.com/b_driscoll.htm (September 26, 2003).
- Mighty Horn Ministries, http://www.mightyhorn.com (August 28, 2003).
Visitor Comments Add a comment…
almost 12 years ago
My prayer for you is that the lord will uphold you, satan will not rubbish the anoiting of God in your life. And as Jesus said he will not loose any one of us you will not be lost at that glorious table amen. adebanjo
over 12 years ago
Your performance at the Believer's Convention today in Ft Worth TX (8/4/2010) was anointed by our great God. Please continue to share the gospel through your music with the world. Double Blessings to you and your family.
about 13 years ago
phil you have visited our church many times now victory church winchester va was pastor larry hickey,i'm one of the drummers and got to play with you 1 time during praise & worship the song how great thou art,just one of the many blessings in my life.i'm really not sure whats happened to you but i pray we all will see you soon,bless you always in jesus name always
almost 14 years ago
Hi Phill.Many years ago you and the team would regularly come to our church in Bedford NH.You have am amazing talent, the GOD of our salvation has truly blessed you with an amazing talent too not only play music, also to minister with your voice. We spoke on many occasions and the power HE has blessed you with is one of your strengths. Always play and send the 10,000 blessings to there home. Your friend in HIM Michael P
about 14 years ago
I am the music minister for our church. Please know that your music, teaching, and love for the Lord put me, and thousands like me, in His service...Stay Strong.
over 14 years ago
Phil, I saw you on Promiseland network tonight, this was the first time I had seen or heard of you- I was so touched by the annointing of the holy spirit upon you, I must say it was the highlight of the program to hear you sing and play your horn, would love to receive some of your music on cd-please let me know where I can buy your cd, God bless and keep you and family.
over 14 years ago
PHIL, YOU WERE TRULY AN ANOINTED MAN AS YOU PLAYED, SANG & GAVE A WORD AT THE BILLYE BRIM PRAYER CONFERENCE IN BRANSON, MO. (OCTOBER, 2008) I'VE SEEN & HEARD YOU NUMEROUS TIMES BEFORE BUT YOU & YOUR MUSIC HAVE REACHED A NEW LEVEL. I BELIEVE YOU ARE NOW WHERE GOD WANTS YOU TO BE. I BOUGHT 3 OF YOUR CDS. WHEN I PLAYED THE TWO NEW ONES IT WAS "A NEW MAN" PERFORMING!! THEY WERE LIKE LOVE SONGS TO THE LORD. MAY THE BLESSINGS OF THE LORD CHASE YOU & OVER TAKE YOU. YOU & DINO NEED TO DO A CD TOGETHER...
over 14 years ago
Hi Phil! I love your music. You have been a blessing to me. I love the way you play the trumpet and the Shofar. Keep doing what the Lord wants you to do. You have a great gift. Jen!
over 14 years ago
Phil, We all go through dark valleys in our lives. When we belong to Christ the enemy is out to kill and destroy. I have always loved you and your music. I never judge anyone else's trials because they are between them and God. Didn't Jesus say.... he who is without sin cast the first stone?? We all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God. that is way salvation is only through Grace and Faith alone. If anyone adds to that it is no longer a Gift of Grace. You are amazing and I know that we who are the Children of God will be Faithful until the end. May Christ bless you and your life. May the next trumpet sound be the announcement of Jesus coming for His Bride!!! All because of Cavary, Now play that music...and sing!!!!! Darlene
about 15 years ago
Mr.Droscpll I have never forgotten the time you and your son came to hawaii to minister. The mighty anointing God has given you changed many lives bring us into a deeper relationship with our wonderful Lord Jesus. Thank you. I look forward to meeting you and your son again. I hear you are on a new mission, reaching the forgotten,the broken harted,those who have lost all hope, they need you and everything Jesus has given you. I was sad to hear you are there but REJOICE when I know what God can do, setting the captives free YOU ARE NOW A GREATER WITTNESS TO HIS GRACE AND MERCY. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Okupaa means straigth in hawaiian, God will give you Okupaa. Blessing to you and your family. thank you for the news letters they are very encourageing and so real of what it is like being a christian. See you soon. Blessing from kim
about 15 years ago
Dear Phil, I would like to introduce you to my Healing/motivational Christian website.I am singing the Healing song'ONLY YOU JESUS' website: www.music-motivation.com Your ministry has blessed me enormously and I pray that you continue your 'mighty anointed music ministry!' Love and blessings from Judy Gale
about 15 years ago
Phil, your work for the Lord through music has been a great blessing in my life. I thank you and know that God continues to bless you even in your present circumstances. I look forward to hearing how the Lord has used you this past year and how he will continue to use you.
about 15 years ago
Thank you Phil for blessing the body of christ with your talent. Be assured that i am praying for you out here in Nigeria.Only be strong and know that this is only the world's response to annointing, Heaven keeps you intact in the register. We love you! Paul, Dorcas, David & Sharon
about 15 years ago
I TRUELY BELIEVE THAT RIGHT IS RIGHT, AND WRONG IS WRONG;BUTM I ALSO BELEIVE THAT ANOINTING IS ANOINTING. THANK GOD FOR HIS LOVING KINDNESS AND GRACE, EVEN WHEN WE DO WRONG. THANK YOU PHIL FOR FULFILLING THE CALL OF GOD FOR YOUR LIFE. YOUR WORSHIP TO GOD THRU SONG HAS MANY TIMES OVER THE YEARS BROUGHT TRUE DELIVERANCE TO MY LIFE. YOU KNOW WHAT IT MEANS WHEN THE WORD TELL US: WORSHIP ME IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH GOD BLESS KIM FROM MICHIGAN
over 15 years ago
WHAT A WASTE OF REAL TALENT.. sigh.......