It is taking longer than expected to fetch the next song to play. The music should be playing soon. If you get tired of waiting, you can try reloading your browser.


Please check our Help page for information about troubleshooting Pandora on your browser.

Please ensure you are using the latest Flash Player.


If you are unable or do not wish to upgrade your Flash Player,
please try a different browser.


Please check our Help page for information about troubleshooting Pandora on your browser.
Your Pandora One subscription will expire shortly.
More Info
No Thanks
Your Pandora One trial will expire shortly.
Restore
Close
close
Your Pandora One trial subscription will expire shortly. Upgrade to continue unlimited, ad-free listening.
Upgrade Now
You've listened to hours of Pandora this month. Consider upgrading to Pandora One.
More Info
No Thanks
Close
Hi . Pandora is using Facebook to personalize your experience. Learn MoreNo Thanks
-0:00
0:00
Change Skin

We created Pandora to put the Music Genome Project directly in your hands

It’s a new kind of radio –
stations that play only music you like

 
Create an account for free. Register
Now Playing
Music Feed
My Profile
Create a Station
People who also like this

Kelly Joe Phelps

Vancouver, Washington-based guitarist, singer, and songwriter Kelly Joe Phelps continues to expand the parameters of modern blues through his strong commitment to literary songs and his expressive yet simple guitar stylings. While casual listeners may call Phelps a bluesman, his playing is so fluid, dexterous, and improvised he obviously has the soul of a jazz musician. Phelps was raised in a music-loving household in Sumner, Washington, near Tacoma. The son of Seventh Day Adventist parents, Phelps' father was an air conditioning and refrigeration specialist and his mother worked as a housewife and Tupperware salesperson. "They didn't have a large record collection," he recalled in a 2000 interview, "but the influence from them musically was the fact that they played music, at home, almost daily." Phelps' parents didn't play music for religious reasons, but merely for emotional ones. Phelps' father played guitar, fiddle, piano, and harmonica while his mother played guitar and some banjo. His father liked country & western music, but also developed an ear for blues, and brought home albums by Meade "Lux" Lewis, Pete Johnson, and other boogie-woogie piano players. "I can remember being five or six and hearing him beat out these boogie-woogie tunes on piano," Phelps recalled.

Phelps got interested in jazz guitar when he was in his teens, so he ended up paying equally close attention to Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Led Zeppelin. Phelps switched from jazz to blues while he was still living in Portland, Oregon, because he saw the blues as a way to continue expanding his parameters and challenging himself. He moved from Seattle down to Portland, Oregon in 1980, and there he found equally vibrant jazz and blues scenes. He began to hit the jazz clubs and heard live jazz in clubs four and five nights a week. He spent the better part of the next 10 years playing bass in small jazz groups, but at home and in private, he would continue to play guitar, occasionally experimenting with a slide, to coax bluesier tunes from his instrument. In the late '80s, Phelps heard an album by classic acoustic bluesman Mississippi Fred MacDowell that turned his career around. "Once I heard the country blues players, I wanted to figure out a way to improvise like a jazz musician would, but at the same time play a style of music that was more closely linked to folk forms," he recalled. Like a jazz musician, he reads his audiences carefully and works without the aid of a song list at his live shows. Phelps' debut for Burnside Records led him to American Records, but after that company folded, he got picked up by Rykodisc. That company in turn was acquired in part by Palm Pictures, an interactive music/film company run by Island Records founder Chris Blackwell.

Like any good bluesman, Phelps averages more than 200 nights a year on the road, and always carries a notebook with him, jotting down song ideas as they pop up. But, like so many others, he does the vast majority of his songwriting at home. Fortunately, Phelps' parents have come out to see him at gigs around Washington state and witnessed some of his success in packing theaters, festivals, and large coffee houses. His recordings include Lead Me On, his 1994 debut for the Portland-based Burnside Records label, followed in 1997 by Roll Away the Stone for Rykodisc. His other releases for Rykodisc include Shine Eyed Mister Zen, in 1999 and Sky Like a Broken Clock, in 2001. Since 2001, other releases include the Beggar's Oil EP, Slingshot Professionals, Tap the Red Cane Whirlwind, Tunesmith Retrofit, the last a 2006 release for Rounder Records, and 2009's Western Bell, his first for the Black Hen label. By blues standards, Phelps is young, so there's much more to come from this free-thinking, innovative, groundbreaking songwriter, singer, and guitarist. In 2010, Phelps took a left turn with Magnetic Skyline, a collaborative project with singer and songwriter Corinne West. Phelps released Brother Sinner & the Whale, in 2012; the set was a collection of mostly original blues and folk tunes tunes about spiritual themes; it was produced by Steve Dawson. ~ Richard Skelly, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Report as inappropriate
markdlaskey
There's nothing simple about his guitar stylings. The man has very serious chops.
Report as inappropriate
SIng it...with feelings.... a n d darn good.
Report as inappropriate
Can't say enough good things about his live shows. For songs that are often pretty deep and sometimes sad, you really don't expect him to be absolutely hilarious in between songs, but he is.
Report as inappropriate
good... I mean not bad!
Report as inappropriate
yet, one more one-of-a-kin d . . . p u r e and glad he shares his wares.
Report as inappropriate
Absolute perfection. Discovered him on a William Elliott Whitmore station. Consider me obsessed.
Report as inappropriate
I've seen KJP and talked with him...helluv a guy, very talented! Love his music!
Report as inappropriate
damn thats good thanks
Report as inappropriate
steve has one of the deepest throats i have ever known,i miss it terribly
Report as inappropriate
yo steve,r u a merchant banker?
Report as inappropriate
Anybody seen this cat live? Sounds great, just curious what Mr Phelps is all about!?
Report as inappropriate
rrchcarpente r r o d
I meant KJP...
Report as inappropriate
rrchcarpente r r o d
My wife, kids and I saw KJF in Telluride about 10 years ago. We were there to see Greg Brown and KellyJoe stole the show!
Report as inappropriate
That sounded like I was stoned.... oh I am!!!!!
Report as inappropriate
I just like his stuff!!! I don't know anything else!
Report as inappropriate
s.thomas733
He is one of the deepest slide players I've ever heard. I play lapsteel, and his fluidity and alternate bass/melody is extremely difficult to master. He needs to revisit this style as he is one of the best. His slide playing helped me through a bad break up in 2002. Currently he's doing only fingerstyle playing. Kelly... Please slide again. I miss it terribly.... .
Report as inappropriate
omg i'm freaking in love
Report as inappropriate
drrhill6
I stumbled across KJP while perusing the blues section at one of those big headphone station music stores in 2002. He has greatly influenced my back porch guitar crooning. We recently moved to WA and caught his show at the Green Frog Acoustic Tavern in Bellingham a few weeks ago. A great spinner of soulful stories and a delightfully humble and approachable personality.
Report as inappropriate
thanks, Pandora! Never would have met Kelly Joe Phelps without you!
Report as inappropriate
So good to hear a local boy play like this
Report as inappropriate
Really Nice.
Report as inappropriate
ddiersen1
Found KJP while listening to Chris Whitley on Pandora. Within the month I had bought every disc. I am completely trashed on his art. THANK YOU PANDORA!!
Report as inappropriate
Truly gifted
Report as inappropriate
tinamcdermot t
I think I'm in love.
Report as inappropriate
love voice, guitar would like to see him !
Report as inappropriate
In the same spirit as Taj Mahal. Kelly Joe Phelps is a great find.
Report as inappropriate
letskeepinto u c h 1
smooth easy listening
Report as inappropriate
homeloft
Delicious. He obviously has the soul of a Bluesman...
Report as inappropriate
Ive been listening to Kellly joe since 96 and Ive seen him in DesMoines Iowa, Manhatten Kansas, and Decatur Georgia. What a great time at all of them.
Report as inappropriate
Never heard of him before today, but his lyrics and guitar style sucked me right in. I am a fan now!
Report as inappropriate
bontruk
Never heard of this guy until today on "Bert Jansch Radio". I love his style of blues and love that it's influenced by other styles of music while being very personal.
Report as inappropriate
alfredcordow a y
Modern but stickin to the roots blues man. Awesome!
Report as inappropriate
paulh014
saw him play the wedding march at a good freinds wedding and was blown away
Report as inappropriate
Man, Pandora is great. I discovered Kelly Joe Phelps on Robert Johnson radio
Report as inappropriate
tingtingmill e r
wow - pulls me in!
Report as inappropriate
ameo52
An incrediblly talented man...Total package!!!
Report as inappropriate
coutin.dan
Great talent - so many great artists, so little time!
Report as inappropriate
cdavisross
a favorite of mine and an old friend of my husband, can't wait to see him LIVE in The Dalles Civic Auditorium October 27th!
Report as inappropriate
chiefalasia
Here stands a true professional ; a master of his craft: Kelly Phelps.
Report as inappropriate
Few can transport like Kelly Joe Phelps...Chr i s Whitley comes to mind.
Report as inappropriate
The White Keb-Mo... LOL
Report as inappropriate
there aren't many musicians who have influenced me more than KJP. Truly one of the most enjoyable people to watch preform, and one who's lines circulate through the back of my mind where ever I do wander
Report as inappropriate
Beautiful.
Report as inappropriate
mkfs1956
Reminds me a little of David Crosby
Report as inappropriate
Great song, the real deal, reminds me of Keb, as a player/groov e r I love an artist thats in my vocal range, sweet sounding guitar. I want to hear alot mo.
Report as inappropriate
Good Music! Love blues & acoustic.
Report as inappropriate
lucas.wilkin s o n
Thank you Pandora for introducing me to KJP!
Report as inappropriate
lauralbernel l
Fantastic voice! Sounds like Ray Charles mixed with some older time delta blues singers. Love it! First Time I've heard it, too. DOES HE EVER PLAY IN THE BAY AREA???
Report as inappropriate
annieykc
First time I've heard him - love it!
Report as inappropriate
I saw/heard him open for BB King several years ago. Kelly Joe Phelps is awesome! Can't believe music so good came out of Vancouver, WA.
Show more

We're sorry, but a browser plugin or firewall may be preventing Pandora from loading.

In order to use Pandora internet radio, please upgrade to a more current browser.

Please check our Help page for more information.

It looks like your browser does not support modern SSL/TLS. Please upgrade your browser.

If you need help, please email: pandora-support@pandora.com.

In order to use Pandora internet radio, please upgrade to a more current browser
or install a newer version of Flash (v.10 or later).

In order to use Pandora internet radio, please install Adobe Flash (v.10 or later).

[64, 118, 68, 126, 113, 113, 66, 122, 105, 111, 108, 86, 65, 116, 102, 99, 69, 81, 89, 102, 69, 79, 99, 111, 90, 80, 92, 99, 120, 64, 85, 88, 113, 90, 81, 76, 123, 96, 114, 108, 72, 84, 74, 89, 114, 84, 112, 81, 78, 103, 87, 112, 87, 112, 68, 100, 69, 82, 119, 68, 110, 85, 101, 72, 68, 98, 119, 79, 98, 96, 123, 77, 87, 73, 110, 102, 80, 126, 93, 97, 100, 78, 74, 69, 97, 114, 68, 71, 79, 113, 92, 110, 86, 107, 67, 95, 113, 110, 114, 66, 107, 98, 80, 91, 91, 122, 92, 64, 94, 69, 114, 98, 115, 123, 98, 111, 68, 86, 79, 82, 126, 98, 98, 114, 85, 113, 120, 84, 110, 113, 66, 114, 88, 94, 81, 111, 122, 66, 105, 123, 69, 119, 119, 119, 93, 69, 124, 90, 115, 120, 110, 69, 113, 100, 112, 87, 72, 91, 124, 64, 111, 116, 106, 115, 78, 101, 66, 71, 92, 94, 78, 126, 105, 71, 108, 110, 73, 81, 75, 115, 67, 93, 121, 107, 82, 84, 69, 80, 101, 93, 64, 121, 104, 113, 97, 107, 102, 104, 91, 93, 75, 91, 70, 115, 120, 101, 82, 106, 72, 109, 120, 112, 95, 112, 116, 64, 72, 110, 96, 105, 114, 102, 87, 75, 66, 124, 80, 100, 122, 64, 98, 89, 97, 70, 111, 119, 117, 100, 94, 117, 124, 70, 98, 105, 87, 95, 74, 127, 74, 121, 116, 70, 117, 65, 90, 109, 94, 72, 125, 120, 89, 95, 99, 73, 109, 72, 119, 115, 117, 88, 113, 90, 96, 77, 99, 97, 92, 106, 112, 68, 64, 97, 68, 91, 125, 110, 101, 72, 65, 118, 73, 120, 115, 73, 113, 118, 111, 86, 73, 122, 94, 119, 68, 109, 70, 116, 111, 91, 79, 78, 98, 99, 66, 122, 64, 126, 108, 95, 78, 69, 81, 72, 95, 121, 115, 120, 70, 127, 74, 67, 75, 82, 91, 122, 87, 90, 117, 91, 112, 94, 127, 103, 84, 81, 93, 118, 79, 101, 73, 118, 125, 107, 65, 83, 105, 87, 73, 70, 99, 92, 69, 106, 88, 123, 66, 66, 83, 97, 73, 88, 75, 69, 120, 108, 113, 123, 68, 125, 99, 70, 97, 102, 124, 121, 67, 91, 65, 92, 107, 124, 96, 85, 72, 119, 79, 101, 72, 114, 114, 87, 100, 104, 90, 66, 76, 94, 84, 118, 124, 125, 104, 103, 109, 75, 94, 95, 107, 113, 103, 101, 65, 117, 113, 104, 111, 73, 91, 99, 81, 92, 82, 90, 108, 66, 74, 107, 94, 89, 74, 91, 118, 90, 73, 66, 65, 106, 107, 109, 103, 115, 107, 97, 67, 87, 84, 108, 73, 119, 77, 76, 89, 86, 88, 70, 93, 84, 121, 119, 104, 80, 85, 119, 106, 87, 81, 101, 74, 116, 92, 93, 84, 89, 98, 81, 80, 102, 70, 87, 119, 102, 115, 99, 119, 106, 118, 92, 84, 90, 111, 74, 86, 111, 119, 113, 86, 94, 92, 100, 74, 91, 91, 89]