Style: Bluesy Gospel/Americana; compare to Johnny Cash, Chris Smither, Peter Mulvey
Top Tracks: "Sometimes a Drifter," "Pilgrim's Reach," "Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah"
With an extensive background in jazz and blues, and years of experience with slide guitar, Kelly Joe Phelps abandons his lap steel for bottleneck on Brother Sinner and the Whale. It is, in essence, a blues guitar album, and he demonstrates such finger-pickin' mastery over the instrument that it seems an extension of himself. But more than that, Phelps finds Jesus in the blues, singing those familiar themes of day-to-day restlessness, hard times, and sorrow with "hope in the Lord to provide" and the comfort of community ("may we find in our togetherness honest joy").1