Wissen – ‘Again, any time’ is a phrase often used in internet business. It accurately describes the audience’s mood after Kelly Joe Phelps’ concert in the full foyer of the Kulturwerk in Wissen. Modestly tipping his well-worn hat, Phelps walked on stage and started his concert without much talking and kept his audiene spellbound with the blues from America’s South.
Anyone who has seen Wim Wender’s movie ‘Paris, Texas’ will remember the sound track by Ry Coorder. This was the type of blues that Phelps played in Wissen. And you wondered if it was the guitar playing – Phelps went back and forth between two guitars – or the artist’s melancholic way of singing that made the performance so captivating. The applause was accompanied by cheers after a number of songs. His murmured monolgue was near incomprehensible as he seemed to search for tunes, but when found, he would shape and perform them. (← totally free adaptation of what I think the writer and translator mean and I still don’t quite know). Most people in the audience seemed to be familiar with Phelps and his music but even those who saw him for the first time, quickly fell for it.
There are 10 CD’s out by Kelly Joe Phelps, starting with ‘Lead Me On’ (1994) to his latest, ‘Brother Sinner & The Whale’ (2012) which was available after the show and could be signed by the artist. Upon leaving the ‘Kulturwerk’ and making one’s way through the smokers outisde, there seemed to be just one thing missing to make this a perfect concert: a smoke filled barroom and a glass of whiskey. kgm