Salvation is a term thrown around too casually in blues music. Dancing with the devil or getting down to your knees when the storm is the darkest; those decisions usually come down to the woman in the dress or the drink in the glass.
For six-string surgeon Kelly Joe Phelps, returning to his Christian roots wasn’t a desperate cry for help. It was simply a desire to change and find answers.
Phelps’ rebirth helped shape Brother Sinner and the Whale, and certainly influenced the stories he shares. “Talking To Jehova” offers a calmed side to the gospel sounds of today and a more melody focused approach to Kelly Joe’s song writing. Phelps lets the melody – a gospel/blues riff picked gently from a bottleneck – glide and carry his story along. He’s not a street corner prophet, yelling to be heard or stomping the floor for attention. No, Phelps expresses his new inspiration and devotion in the quietest of tones and nestles his technical proficiency smoothly into the melody.
It’s probably a stretch, but “Talking To Jehovah” could easily find a home with anyone that fell in love with William Whitmore’s Field Songs, assuming you are okay with slide over banjo and Phelps smooth delivery instead of the gravely yelp Whitmore brings to the table.