At the early age of 15 Rod had established his life's direction, playing classical piano, keys in dance bands, and singing and playing in churches and memorial services for income in his hometown of Parsons, KS. By age 17 he was church organist; in high school he played piano in the stage band, drums in the marching band, and cello in the orchestra. He taught himself to play guitar, banjo, mandolin, and harmonica, sang and played guitar in folk groups and acted in every musical and play he could find- and started to write what would eventually become a library of nearly 600 songs.
B.M. Performance, 1971. (Enid, OK)
Continuing his interest in all things musical, he participated at P.U. in three campus choirs, Concert band, Stage (jazz) Band, and Orchestra, performing in as many as six concerts per semester. Jr. & Sr. years he wrote original scores to the local Miss America pageant which resulted in Miss Oklahoma and Miss America reviews and acclaims.
M.M.E. 1972; Ph.D. 60% hours needed (Denton, TX)
Played piano in the legendary NTSU jazz Lab Band program and gigged with bands and as a solo; continued with Doctoral work in Music Education.
Played solo jobs in Dallas-Ft. Worth-Denton area and gigged in Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, and New Mexico.
=1973-74 Toured with the NEW CHRISTY MINSTRELS (Hollywood, CA) from NY to CA as Music Director, guitar/banjo.
=1974 Professional actor/singer/ dancer/ as a "street singer" in the BERNSTEIN MASS with the Ft. Worth Symphony
=1976-present YOUNG COUNTRY (Dallas) and still performing with them!
Toured with MICHAEL MARTIN MURPHEY 1978-81. 300 national tour dates over three years. Keys, flute, harmonica, dulcimer. 600 performances in Taos resorts and hotels '81-'84... as songwriter and "bar" singer.
Wrote scores to four children's musicals over six years, including "The Adobe Rabbit"; over 30 songs total, producing tracks and/or playing live for performances.
Produced and performed in "The Fantasticks", professional theater, St. Bernard Inn, Taos Ski Valley, NM.
Two separate music tours with Cornerstone Church/Praise Co. in Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, and Poland, 25 performances. Residencies in Warsaw, Krakow, and Lublin, Poland.
=1986-87 Piano with Rodney Dillard and the Grammy-nominated bluegrass group "THE DILLARDS"
=1990-95 JIM STAFFORD THEATER (800 shows, playing piano, guitar, show opener) Toured with Jim as duo
=1996 LEGENDS (a Las Vegas-based show) 150 shows as Music Director
=2006-07 JOHN DENVER LIVES (show produced by Rod Phillips)
=1996-2012 PRESLEY'S COUNTRY MUSIC JUBILEE - 17 years, 4,250 nights as gospel/comic pre-show.
=2008-16 The "SELF-RIGHTEOUS BROS" comedy duo with Brian Hargiss; toured AR, KS, OK, MO
=2012- Encore tour with MICHAEL MARTIN MURPHEY COWBOY CHRISTMAS tour: keyboards, dulcimer, mandolin, harmonica, flute and Native American flute.
2018 Home Concert tours; GigSalad individual appearances
After graduating from North Texas State in 1972 with a Master's in music, Rod toured with the New Christy Minstrels nationwide as music director, singing their 1962 Grammy-award winning song "Today" in the show.
OMG, those pants! Also my friend David (Gerry) Bevan at R. with upright bass, Miss Texas (Mae Beth Cormany), center, with flowers, posing with concert sponsors and other member of the New Christy Minstrels.
A showcase group that many people passed through, besides the original group leader, Randy Sparks, Barry McGuire, Kenny Rogers, and (some say) John Denver may have traveled with them in the early days.