As I’m currently suffering a similar affliction I can speak from experience about nerve injuries to the arm, Kelly Joe Phelps has overcome a possible career threatening one that prevented the slide guitar maestro from even picking up his guitar let alone playing, thankfully he’s put it behind him and has now re-arranged his tour originally planned for January in support of his album Brother Sinner and The Whale (featured on BS back in Nov ’12) you can catch him at one of these fine venues.
September 10, MILNGAVIE FOLK, GLASGOW
September 11, THE MUSICIAN LEICESTER
September 12, THE FLOWERPOT DERBY
September 13, ARLINGTON ARTS CENTRE, NEWBURY
September 14, SELBY TOWN HALL ARTS CENTRE
September 15, HARPOLE OLD SCHOOL HALL, NORTHAMPTON
September 16, THE LIVE ROOM @ CAROLINE SOCIAL CLUB SHIPLEY,
September 17, PULL UP THE ROOTS @ BUSH HALL, LONDON
September 18, ST. GEORGE’S HALL BRISTOL
September 19, RYE ARTS FESTIVAL
September 20, THE ROPEWALK, BARTON-ON-HUMBER
September 21, THE SOUTHPORT AMERICANA FESTIVAL @ THE ATKINSON
September 22, THE LOWRY STUDIO SALFORD
September 25, THE VICTORIA HOTEL, MENAI BRIDGE, ANGLESEY
September 27, THE PALMEIRA,HOVE
September 28, THE MASONIC HALL, BARRY
September 29, ELECTRIC PALACE, BRIDPORT
Best known for his slide-guitar playing Phelps plays mostly in an acoustic country-blues finger picking style on this collection which includes a pair of instrumental tracks that without distraction allow the listener to really appreciate his mastery of the guitar.
Phelps formative years were spent in Sumner, Washington, a rural blue-collar town where learnt to play country folk songs and play drums and piano from his father, before moving on to playing guitar when twelve, his first love was free jazz and he spent ten years or so mostly as a bass player before falling victim to the blues bug after listening to the classic acoustic blues of Fred McDowell and Robert Pete Williams, before moving on achieving critical recognition for his lap-style slide guitar playing. With eight albums and two EP’s already in his back catalogue since his debut Lean on Me from 1995 Phelps continues to make compelling music and avoids using gospel standards and reworking traditional songs in favour of a writing his own compositions (bar one I believe) that are served free of adornment with Phelps earnest vocal.
Despite my atheism I found a lot to enjoy in the latest album from Portland Oregon based guitar maestro Kelly Joe Phelps, there’s no escaping the fact this album doesn’t flaunt with gospel or dabble in obtuse spiritualism it’s very much a faith album though a couple of the tracks do have a more spiritual feel, there’s a great piece at No Depression with an interview with the man himself who will be over in the UK in January of next year playing shows all over the country – check the dates here.