Kelly Joe Phelps at Ashland Coffee and Tea 

Thursday, Feb. 27. 8 p.m.

click to enlarge night09_kelly_joe_phelps.jpg

James Rexroad

If there’s one form of music I truly hate, it’s modern blues. Since the late 1950s, only Howlin’ Wolf, Captain Beefheart and Tom Waits have brought something new to the game, with most blues players content to desecrate its corpse with overblown rehash. One guy that gets it right is Kelly Joe Phelps. It may be a little traditionalist for my tastes, but the Sumner, Wash., native nails his gospel Delta blues. His voice and guitar cut to the bone working not as two separate instruments but as one — invoking Mississippi Fred McDowell and Charley Patton without sounding like a well-intentioned parody. Like the great early players, there’s a disarming intimacy to his music that confesses its truths without fanfare. It’s a deeply human sound and one that’s as old as time, but rarely is it played with such genuine presence and melodic restraint. Kelly Joe Phelps plays Thursday, Feb. 27, at Ashland Coffee and Tea. Doors open at 8 p.m. Admission is $16 in advance and $20 at the door. ashlandcoffeeandtea.com.— Chris Bopst

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

  • Re: Preview: Big Changes Are Underway at Ashland Coffee and Tea

    • Nice coverage! The Global Sound Series actually kicks off with Richmond's Afro-Zen Allstars on Friday,…

    • on January 24, 2017
  • Re: Preview: Grouped Art Show in Forest View Heights

    • Place is dope! Signed, your neighbor.

    • on January 24, 2017
  • Re: Richmond Podcaster Responds to Trump by Playing More Music by Women

    • We ought not be so hard on Erin Gerety. It must be hard to promote…

    • on January 21, 2017
  • More »
  • Copyright © 2017 Style Weekly
    Richmond's alternative for news, arts, culture and opinion
    All rights reserved
    Powered by Foundation