BCR La Revue (France)
t’s as thin as the edge of a razor, the road separating Heaven from Hell, sin from salvation, redemption from despair. Kelly Joe Phelps has done a lot of musical research since his last album Western Bell, released in 2009. Three year later, this search leads him to the door of Steve Dawson in Vancouver.They have already made three CD’s together. Dawson has played slide on Slingshot, has produced Tunesmith Retrofit and has made posible Western Bell.
Once again they work in perfect harmony. Dawson produces, is the engineer, does the mixing and the mastering. Kelly Joe is alone with his guitar. The two men operate as real twins. Dawson is the technician. Phelps is the artist. And only those two brothers in arms are in the studio. As is his wont, Phelps composes and writes and the songs. With the exception of one, the traditional ‘I’ve Been Converted.” Kelly Joe Phelps has no single brand, to be honest, from where he can collect those unknowns in the musical planet. He came from the jazz scene, after some excursions into folk and blues, and has invented his own scenic and sonic universe. Music that is impossible to qualify. His music is a genre in itself. Phelpsian music one could
say. This time, for Brother Sinner & The Whale, he wanders even further from the beaten track. It’s all about gospel. But where his peers use repeat, he innovates, invents, creates, molds. A gospel song that belongs to him alone. For which he is the initiator and the prophet.
It’s a CD that’s impossible to label. The Gospel according to Kelly Joe Phelps. His voice, his guitar, his poems, his music. The result is extraordinary. Kelly Joe Phelps has re-invented Gospel. All by himself with his friend Steve Dawson at the controls. It is said that God created the Earth in six days. And that he rested on the seventh day. For certain Kelly Joe Phelps has created the Gospel in three days. But he didn’t rest after that. He will be on tour in France this coming September. Congratulations Sir!
Claude Dannic for BCR La Revue