This thoughtful and moving artist has afforded himself the luxury of one microphone (OK, maybe two!), but just him, his guitar and his voice, and in mono, which in 2012 is a challenge. Kelly Joe Phelps seems to have gone religious, at least according to the lyrics and the titles of his songs ('Talking to Jehova', 'Pilgrim's Reach', 'The Holy Spirit Flood', 'Guide Me Oh Thou Great Jehova'). That's absolutely fine, because even if you don't share his beliefs and his convictions, the work presented is imbued with a spirituality that communicates itself very well. His mystical folk blues appears touched by grace and gives him absolute mastery over his guitar playing hands. maybe he has made some kind of pact...?
The man restores nobility to an acoustic genre which has been relatively neglected; with splendid harmonies and parts on the Dobro that feel super good. The novice guitar player, which maybe you are, will, in all those titles, discover how to use a simple open chord and turn it into a small symphony, or how to construct a coherent song with just two or three seemingly very simple chords. This is compulsory homework for this new school year.