Acclaimed musician Kelly Joe Phelps has long been known for his amazing lap steel recordings. But, as he confessed to us recently during a recent video shoot, over the last few years, the singer-songwriter has basically stopped playing that instrument altogether. Instead, he has focused on standard guitar playing, writing and collaborating with music cohort Corinne West.

On Phelps’ forthcoming solo release, Brother Sinner & The Whale (out August 21, 2012 on Black Hen Music), the musician takes yet another turn. Brother Sinner & The Whale is a simple, powerful solo album of spirituals, with lyrics inspired by the poetry in the Book of Jonah. And, while the lap steel is gone, Phelps is now playing bottleneck guitar with half of the album featuring a National guitar, while the other half features a Martin D-35.

Whether or not you consider yourself religious, this gorgeous album is well-worth checking out. It was produced by Vancouver’s Steve Dawson (himself the subject a Fretboard Journal video here) and it’s available for pre-release streaming on for just a couple of short weeks.