Alternate Tunings is about those true, original artists who carve out their place in guitar history with a unique, personal style that has inspired countless others to pick up the instrument to find their own voice. Exploring the heroes of the guitar, this series recognizes the pioneers who've discovered new ways to communicate with only six strings, and create a sound with limitless possibilities. Simply put, it's about your guitar heroes guitar heroes.

tim reynoldsTim Reynolds

Kelly Joe Phelps’ career has been one of constant exploration. He began playing jazz and experimental music, steeped in Miles Davis andJohn Coltrane, before discovering the blues of Skip James and Mississippi Fred McDowell. In the late 1990s, his solo performances featured slide guitar playing that left listeners amazed. But then in 2001, he put away the slide, and added a band, bringing a drummer and bass player into the mix.

More recently, he has added guitar, keyboard, fiddle and mandolin to his recorded sound, and woven folk and rock influences in with the blues. And while his playing deftly acknowledges his jazz and blues roots, his lyrics have drawn comparisons to Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits and Bob Dylan. With his latest release, 2006’s Tunesmith Retrofit, Phelps continues to explore, and to defy categorization.

Kelly Joe sat down with us at the act3 studio in St. Louis to talk about the towering presence of Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, and the benefit of emulating a guitar player who also enjoyed mass popularity.

 

 

 

Music heard in the Show:

Hear My Train a Comin' - Jimmy Hendrix
(Band of Gypsys, 1970 on Capitol Records)


Ziggomatic V17 - Aphex Twin
(Drukqs, 1997 on Warp Records)

Feio - Miles Davis
(Bitches Brew, 1970 on Columbia Records)

 

kelly joe phelpsKelly Joe Phelps

Kelly Joe Phelps’ career has been one of constant exploration. He began playing jazz and experimental music, steeped in Miles Davis andJohn Coltrane, before discovering the blues of Skip James and Mississippi Fred McDowell. In the late 1990s, his solo performances featured slide guitar playing that left listeners amazed. But then in 2001, he put away the slide, and added a band, bringing a drummer and bass player into the mix.

More recently, he has added guitar, keyboard, fiddle and mandolin to his recorded sound, and woven folk and rock influences in with the blues. And while his playing deftly acknowledges his jazz and blues roots, his lyrics have drawn comparisons to Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits and Bob Dylan. With his latest release, 2006’s Tunesmith Retrofit, Phelps continues to explore, and to defy categorization.

Kelly Joe sat down with us at the act3 studio in St. Louis to talk about the towering presence of Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, and the benefit of emulating a guitar player who also enjoyed mass popularity.

 

bo ramseyBo Ramsey

Born and raised in the blue-collar Mississippi River town of Burlington, Iowa, Robert Franklin 'Bo' Ramsey played a vital role in shaping Eastern Iowa's distinctive blues-rock hybrid, breaking out in the early 70s with the seminal Mother Blues Band, a honking powerhouse that also featured Iowa blues legends Joe Price and Patrick Hazell. Since his early days on the Midwest circuit, Ramsey has built a career as a respected performer, an in-demand producer, a renowned recording session guitarist, and a trusted "hired gun" in touring bands of high-profile national acts.

We met up with Bo at the legendary Sheldon Concert Hall in St. Louis to talk about the blues.



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