Blues-influenced US troubadour's best yet

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Kelly Joe Phelps – Slingshot Professionals

The transformation of KJP from revivalist bluesman to contemporary singer-songwriter, which began on 1999’s Shine Eyed Mister Zen, continues apace on his fifth album. His songs are now mini stories, sans verse-chorus-bridge restraints, populated by seekers of truth and peddlers of dreams. His lap-guitar style is exemplary, his voice has a heartfelt, rich patina and the backing musicians, including Bill Frisell on electric guitar, create a folk-jazz accompaniment of almost spiritual empathy. “Knock Louder” revisits his blues roots, but only serves to remind us how far he has since come.