The debut album of singer/songwriter/bluesman Kelly Joe Phelps was released 15 years ago. The album, Lead Me On was a brilliant landmark of a lap-steel player, that combined an unbelievable technique, smoky voice that sounds like he was kidnapped from the Mississippi, and huge amounts of feel and soul – all that, concentrated in one thin white guy.
Phelps, originally from Vancouver has been around for all these years, released nice albums far from the spotlights and was always the best kept secret of fans of the genre. He has brilliant express skills, authentic and original. You won’t find too many “woke up in the morning, and found out she left me, and ran with the mailman, and finished all the orange juice, that bitch“. You will find many personal stories, appropriate for this kind of troubadour, who holds the guitar like no one else.
While most of the world keeps the ‘singing lap steel player’ spot for Ben Harper, one should really pay a good attention to Phelps, one of the most interesting musicians.
Now, celebrating 15 years for his debut, Phelps reissue the album with a 24 bit remastered version, two bonus tracks and a new packaging, full of pictures and all the rest that is required from a 2010 remaster. It’s a great opportunity to go and check Phelps’ music or getting to know it or the first time, and understand why this guy collaborated with giants like Townes Van Zandt and Jay Farrar.
My introduction with Phelps was through his wonderful Tunesmith Retrofit, which is less a ‘guitarists’ album’ and more of a proper singer/songwriter album (perfect for Elliott Smith fans, btw), and since I discovered his music, I went through his entire discography and found a rare cleansing point between Leadbelly and Mississippi John Hurt, Wilco, Ben Harper, Lucinda Williams and Townes Van Zandt. And Elliott Smith.
This is a true mast have album. Perfect, peaceful, bluesy and full of soul and there are not many albums I can say all that about them. This is a huge and rare album. Come judge yourself.
Ever Be Here Again
Lead Me On
We Got To Meet Death One Day (bonus track)
Buy : Amazon