Venue: Oakleigh RSL, 95-97 Drummond Street, Oakleigh Victoria 3166 Phone: (03) 9568 1432
AUSTRALIAN TOUR with Special guest DANIEL CHAMPAGNE To Launch “Brother Sinner & The Whale”. “Kelly Joe Phelps is a great example of what the modern blues is all about. His music has all the authority of the great blues without any hint of rehash or re-tread.” — U2’s The Edge
He’s as thin as the edge of a razor, the road separating Heaven from Hell, sin from salvation, redemption from despair. It’s a lonely road to go down and like the old gospel says, you’ve got to walk it for yourself down at the Caravan Music Club.
“Kelly Joe Phelps plays, sings, and writes the blues. HOLD UP before you lock that in – forget about songs in a twelve bar three chord progression with a two line repeat and answer rhyme structure – though he can certainly do that when he wants to. I’m talking about a feeling, a smoky, lonesome, painful – yet somehow comforting groove that lets you know that you are not alone – even when you’re blue. Play on brother.” — Steve Earle
“More than just an awesomely talented musician, Kelly Joe Phelps speaks to the soul of each and every listener.” —Cameron Crowe
ABOUT THE AUSTRALIAN TOUR…
Digging up the ground he broke on “Roll Away The Stone,” Kelly Joe Phelps returns to Australia this spring to launch his new album “Brother Sinner & The Whale”. With the emphasis back on the simple songwriting and slide guitar that he is so renowned for worldwide, “Brother Sinner & The Whale” heralds a reconnection with some of his old fans, as well as marking an opportunity for new ones.
Since his debut album “Lead Me On” came out in 1994, the Pacific Northwest based singer/ songwriter has written and performed some of the most compelling slide guitar based music ever recorded. He has toured the world many times over, appearing at countless major folk, jazz and blues festivals and in and amongst his own ten odd albums, has featured on recordings by everyone from Townes Van Zandt to Jar Farrar.
Kelly Joe Phelps has over 200 dates worldwide to promote “Brother Sinner & The Whale” over the next 12 months, with stops in Europe, Canada, U.K, Japan and Iceland. His Australian shows this spring will be his first on Australian soil in 5 years.
Just announced is that fast rising young Victorian troubadour Daniel Champagne will be joining Kelly-Joe on all shows!
ABOUT DANIEL CHAMPAGNES…
At the age of 22 singer-songwriter and gun-guitarist Daniel Champagnes ability belies his years. His phenomenal guitar abilities often making him sound more like a three-piece band than a solo performer, pushing the instrument to beyond its boundaries with his signature explosion of 2-hand tapping, body percussion and fiery runs in a variety of different tunings, alongside sublime jazzy finger picking and tasteful improvisation.
The release last year of his debut album ‘Pint of Mystery and his recent EP ‘Real Live’’ (April, 2012) has been accompanied with hundreds of shows both internationally, including in North America, the United Kingdom, Europe, New Zealand and here in his homeland. In Australia, this has included appearing solo shows and performances everywhere from Port Fairy & Woodford Folk Festivals to Byron Blues n Roots as well as opening slots for both Lucinda Williams at Sydney’s State Theatre and US Folk Music legend Judy Collins on her recent Oz tour.
Recently signed to US/Australian booking agency Fleming Artists (Australian stable mates include The Graveyard Train, Cash Savage and Jordie Lane) and sharing stages with some of the finest acts here and internationally has seen Daniel gain a deserved reputation for dropping jaws, breaking guitars and making audiences buzz wherever he goes.
“Today I saw the Future of Folk! – Festival goers flocking in their thousands towards the main stage to witness the young musical phenomenon from Australia dish out an absolute show-stopper at the evening’s end” – Firefly Column, San Francisco
“An amazing rising talent” – Rhythms Magazine
ABOUT THE ALBUM “Brother Sinner & The Whale”…
It’s as thin as the edge of a razor, the road separating Heaven from Hell, sin from salvation, redemption from despair. It’s a lonely road to go down and like the old gospel says, you’ve got to walk it for yourself. Kelly Joe Phelps has been doing lot of soul searching since his last record, “Western Bell” came out in 2009. Three years later, his journey has wound its way to a recording studio in Vancouver, and Kelly Joe has once again beaten a path to Steve Dawson’s door with a new batch of songs tucked into his satchel that reflect both the new insights gained along the journey as well as things that have been dropped by the wayside. Together Phelps and the veteran producer embarked on a three day recording odyssey that has resulted in ‘Brother Sinner and the Whale’, a record that may very well come to be recognized as the best of an already very impressive body of work.
Since his debut album ‘Lead Me On’, came out in 1994, the Pacific Northwest based singer and songwriter has written and performed some of the most compelling slide guitar based music ever recorded. Though he spent his early years playing free jazz, he has never strayed too far from the roots music world that has become his passion. “… I was listening to a lot of Chet Atkins, Merle Travis and some of the newer people like Leo Kottke and John Fahey. My music is a reflection of all the music I loved and steeped myself in. There’s a space and openness in rural music that makes sense to me.” Playing a lap slide in a style that both evoked the sounds of the ancients and pointed towards new possibilities for the instrument, Kelly Joe’s music seemed to originate in another time as he sang with the voice of an old soul, weary with experience, yet excited with all of the prospects that life brings.
Phelps’ inquisitive mind and restless spirit have always carried him forward to new forms of expression, but experimentation is not without its costs. When ‘Western Bell’ baffled his record company, puzzled some fans and failed to create new audiences for his work, Phelps pulled back from recording to search for a new direction. Unexpectedly, inspiration came through a re-examination of his Christian roots, and resulted in an unexpected flurry of creative activity that gave birth to a whole new set of songs and a reinvigorated approach to playing the guitar as Phelps opted to play bottleneck rather than his customary lap slide to achieve a sound that wouldn’t have been out of place on a classic John Fahey or Reverend Gary David record.
With song titles like ‘Talking to Jehovah’, ‘I’ve been Converted’ and ‘The Holy Spirit Flood’, there’s no escaping that something has grown and changed in Kelly Joe’s world. Phelps explains some of the motivation behind the new songs. “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. This is going to be referred to as a gospel record, I suppose. It’ll sound contemporary because of the way I play and write. But, thematically, I’m basing my compositional approach on old styles like the old blues and folk guys played.”
“Taken together, these songs are like a book. First, there’s ‘Good-Bye to Sorrow’ and it’s like the foreword and all the other songs are like chapters in that book. ‘Hard Times Have Never Gone Away’ says that just because you believe, it doesn’t mean that life is going to stop being hard or even change in its intensity. Very few things are ever likely to change overnight.”
While that may be true, it’s still amazing to consider how three days spent in a recording studio have allowed Phelps to redefine who he is as an artist with a solo record that builds on all of his lyrical, compositional and technical strengths to form the best album of his career. It is as Phelps says, ‘the kind of thing that lights a fire under one’s boots and in one’s belly.’