Kelly Joe Phelps
Pete Madsen opensWednesday, October 23, 2013, 8:00 pm (doors open at 7:00 pm)Delta blues, folk, and gospel $20.50 adv / $22.50 doorPurchase tickets online
October 23 8:00 pm

Kelly Joe PhelpsAfter nearly 20 years of recording and touring, Kelly Joe Phelps took a fresh turn. “I’d arrived at a place where I was sinking,” he says. “I had to do something or my head was going to blow up or my heart would stop. When I found a way to allow myself to open up to creative impulse, this is what was staring me in the face and I did not want to say no to anything.” So he said yes to a new solo album, Brother Sinner and The Whale, that showcases his husky voice and his graceful mastery of fingerpicking and slide guitar on a dozen original songs written in the folk-blues idiom with a gospel twist. “It’s got a lot of light streaming through the windows,” he says of his recent music, “and all the doors are wide open.”

Kelly Joe grew up in Sumner, Washington and learned country and folk songs, as well as drums and piano, from his father. After a ten-year jazz phase, playing mostly bass, he moved on to country blues, inspired by masters like Fred McDowell, and took up slide guitar, which he played lapstyle. Since then, he’s made 11 albums of his own, and also recorded with Jay Farrar, Rory Block, Linda Tillery, Tim O’Brien, Greg Brown, Tony Furtado, Martin Simpson, and Townes Van Zandt. His music is subtle. He manages to convey a wealth of emotion in the shading of his voice and the slightest touch on his guitar. In the words of the online magazine PopMatters, Kelly Joe “speaks directly to your soul. If that isn’t the stuff of legends, I don’t know what is.”

Pete Madsen is a local guitarist who plays regularly around the Bay Area and teaches at The Fifth String and the Freight. He also writes for Acoustic Guitar and Play Guitar magazines.

Visit Kelly Joe Phelps's website

Visit Pete Madsen's website

Photo by James Rexroad

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