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Lead Me On

Kelly Joe Phelps gives the world hope that the blues genre will live on and thrive. I’ve never followed the new group of blues players that closely b/c I’ve often felt that they weren’t doing anything new or creative with it. As for the big name “stars,” and their ventures into paying homage to this style of music– while I respect Eric Clapton for everything he’s done in his career, I was disappointed with his tribute to Robert Johnson– he seemed to just be phoning it in; John Mayer is capable of doing some convincing blues numbers and he’s really developed as a guitar player from his humble beginnings, but this guy has been really obnoxious of late and obviously has issues with himself & falling into the “going Hollywood” crap; Billy Joel has really known & understood the Ray Charles side of the blues, but never went beyond a few songs with this world in mind; James Taylor was able to bang out & belt out some good blues-style tracks, but he’s settled back into the adult contemporary self reflective baby boomer stuff. For many years, I’ve always kept an eye out for people who are able to make the most with their instruments w/o the support of big rhythm sections. The fewer people, the better– to see how far an artist can stretch their abilities to write and play a song that can engage the audience on as many levels as possible. Kelly Joe Phelps is the real deal. His voice is as good-if not substantially better than the aforementioned artists—and the fact that it’s just him and his slide guitar speaks to his creativity as a vocalist & instrumentalist. He performs traditional songs and they blend seamlessly with his own compositions. On this album, he proves that the blues is all about feel–b/c in the tradition of some of the early blues players (and Bob Dylan) it’s hard to understand what he’s saying. You’re lucky to be able to figure out what any of his lyrics are at first listen– but you can FEEL the heartfelt loneliness/solitude/hope/humor/perseverance/redemption of the song. Check it out!

Product Description Phelps’ debut outing contains 12 songs: six originals and six covers of the blues players who have influenced him. Playing the acoustic Dobro-style and using hand slaps on the body of the guitar and a wooden stomp box as his only percussion, Kelly Joe br.Burniside records.2004 Review “With his cloudy intonation and sensually nonchalant vocal delivery in sharp contrast to the glasslike clarity of his guitar picking, Phelps puts across a strong program dominated by original tunes.” — DownBeat [****]




Lead Me On Review


heard KJP first on pandora radio on my delta blues channel. very memorable dreamy vocals and deft guitar playing so I bought this CD and very happy with it. looking forward to a live performance somewhere down the road. -Read Reviews-

Fantastic guitar player. New to me and so happy to have discovered Kelly Joe Phelps.

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