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Kelly Joe Phelps

Goto Kelly's Own Site It's impossible to pigeon-hole Kelly Joe Phelps; In the beginning, the man from Portland, Oregon stunned audiences with his richly textured and original approach to the blues. His earliest recordings were very guitar oriented, even pyrotechnical at times. He's constantly blurred the boundaries between blues, folk and jazz, and has never played an obvious version of any one of the three consistently!

"Back in the late '70s and through the '80s," Phelps says, "I played mostly jazz stuff myself. I started playing Chet Atkins and Leo Kottke and all that jazz, but then spent a long time playing bebop and straight ahead stuff. I got into the country blues players and found myself heading, again, toward a kind of folk music form that was improvised to a large degree. I've never felt comfortable playing electric guitar, either. Acoustic guitar always felt like home to me".

Different aspects of the "real" Kelly Joe Phelps keep on standing up, depending on when and where you catch him. He's an ace guitar player, with special flair in the technically challenging area of slide guitar, and a powerful vocalist able to coax a roar from a whisper, wincing and slurring like a man possessed. As a songwriter he's blessed with a literate, cliché-dodging way with lyrics mixes art and grit in a distinctive way. Stop to listen closely to Phelps' lyrics - or better yet, read them - and you quickly realize that he takes words seriously. They're carefully considered and often picturesque, poetic miniatures. Phelps says "I have always felt that I was horrible at trying to write straightforward lyrics.

His fifth and most recent album, the superb "Slingshot Professionals", was given a four star review by Nick Coleman in the "Independent On Sunday".

Inb the U.K. Kelly Joe Phelps has appeared on "Later With Jools Holland", The Andy Kershaw Show, (BBC Radio 3), The Paul Jones Show (BBC Radio 2) and The Nicky Campbell Show, (BBC Radio 5), when he performed a couple of songs and chatted with John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin. Reviews apeared in "Mojo", "Q", "Uncut" (which featured a Kelly Joe Phelps track on the cover mounted CD), "Time Out". Features appeared in "Guitarist" magazine and "Get Rhythm".

At South Parade Pier, Southsea on Tuesday, 4th November 2003. Kelly Joe will be accompanied by bassist Keith Lowe and drummer/percussionist Scott Amendola, who both featured heavily on the "Slingshot Professionals" album. This promises to be an astounding gig, miss it at your peril......

Tickets (£10) now on sale at Wedgewood Rooms Box Office, Al;bert Rd., Southsea, (023) 9286 3911

A Kelly Joe Phelps Discography

  • Albums:
    • "Lead Me On" (May 1994)
    • "Roll Away The Stone" (August 1997)
    • "Shine Eyed Mr. Zen" (July 1999)
    • "Sky Like A Broken Clock" (June 2001)
    • "Slingshot Professionals" (March 2003)
  • Also:
    • "Beggar's Oil" (e.p.) (Jan/Feb 2002)
    • "The Slide Guitar Of Kelly Joe Phelps" (instructional video/DVD)
    • "Let 'er Buck" - soundtrack to a film by Wes Houle.
  • Compilations (unavailable elsewhere):
    • "Broadcasts Vol.8" compilation
    • "River Rat Jimmy" (recorded live at the KGSR studios on 8 Sept, 1999)
    • "City Folk Live III" compilation
    • "House Carpenter" (live performance at the WFUV studios, Feb 2000)
    • "KINK Live ". On Air Performances"compilation
    • "Poor Old Mattie" (live performance at the KINK studios, Jan. 1999)
    • "KRCL's Bellyful 2: Meadows of Music"compilation
    • "Hobo's Son" (live performance on Monday Drivetime, 17 April 2000)
    • "People On The Highway: A Bert Jansch Encomium"
    • "Blackwater Side" (released Oct. 2000)
    • "Condo Painting" soundtrack album
    • "Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues" and "Tom Dooley" (film/album released Nov. 1999))
    • ZUBOT & DAWSON 'Chicken Scratch' - Vocals and acoustic guitar on "Hellhound On My Trail" and "May You Never"
    • JAY FARRAR 'Sebastopol' - Slide guitar on "Outside The Door"
    • RORY BLOCK 'I'm Every Woman' - Slide guitar and lead vocals on "Pretty Polly"
    • LINDA TILLERY & THE CULTURAL HERITAGE CHOIR 'Say Yo' Business' - Slide guitar on "Spirituals Medley" and slide guitar & lead vocals on "Ain't No Mo' Cane On Dis Brazos"
    • TIM O'BRIEN 'The Crossing' - Lap slide guitar on "John Riley"
    • GREG BROWN 'Slant 6 Mind' - Lap steel on "Speaking in Tongues" and lap slide on "Vivid"
    • GREG BROWN 'Further In' - Lap slide guitar on "Small Dark Movie" , "Think About You" , "China" and "Someday When We're Both Alone"
    • TONY FURTADO 'Roll My Blues Away' - Lead vocals and lap slide guitar on "Willow Tree" and "Boat's Up the River", and lap slide guitar on "The Stark Raven" and "Bolinas"
    • TONY FURTADO BAND - Contributes vocals to 'False Hearted Lover', 'Raleigh and Spencer' and 'Mollie and Tenbrooks'
    • MARTIN SIMPSON 'Cool & Unusual'
    • LOUISE TAYLOR 'Ride' - Lap slide guitar on "Roll Away Car" and "Islamorada"
    • BO RAMSEY 'In The Weeds' - Lap steel on "Precious" and "King of Clubs"
    • TOWNES VAN ZANDT 'Highway Kind' - Dobro on "Banks of the Ohio" and "Ira Hayes"

If you would like to contact Barking Spider, please email J.R. at
or ring the
Barking Spider Hotline on: 023 9243 6267

 buy tickets now ...

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