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Music Consumption: Joel R.L. Phelps
09/10/1999 Joel R.L. Phelps: Blackbird

The big news is the new Joel Phelps release, Blackbird. The first few tunes are way more distorted than even the Silkworm stuff, and then it opens up into quieter--but no less intense--tunes. Among these harrowingly emotional tunes, the sole cover, "Lost Continent," comes across as generous as well as moving. Some really amazing songs here. At the moment, I've only listened to it once. The way-distorted tunes are a bit of an adjustment, and there isn't quite the space around the instruments as on the other discs, but it's a winner, proof of which emerges on the chill-inducing "Unless You're Tired of Living" and "Blessed Salt Lake." Other songs are just as good, but I need more time to absorb them. And Phelps/The Downer Trio is/are on tour. Check the Pacifico Records website for dates and times.