Kelly Joe Phelps
Shine Eyed Mister Zen
Acoustic country blues guitarist Kelly Joe Phelps creates seductive magic on his latest release, an eleven-track showcase of his artful guitar and convincing vocal style. Reminiscent of Leo Kottke and John Fahey (but without Fahey’s preoccupation with death, thankfully), Phelps makes this bare music sound easy, which it most assuredly is not. From the slide of “Dock Boggs Country Blues” to the intricate picking of “Katy,” this Washington-born guitarist never tries to stun, preferring to lure you in on the virtues of the song at hand. But repeated listening will convince you of his talent, particularly if you’re a guitarist. But even if you don’t play, take a listen to Kelly Joe Phelps — good music is good music, after all.
Rykodisc, Shetland Park, 27 Congress St., Salem, MA 01970; http://www.rykodisc.com