Steve’s hot ticket: Kelly Joe Phelps |

Steve’s hot ticket: Kelly Joe Phelps

Janet Urquhart
Singer/ guitarist Kelly Joe Phelps (Anthony St. James)
Anthony Saint James |

Steve’s Guitars is back in the spotlight tonight with a return engagement by singer-songwriter Kelly Joe Phelps.

“This is another amazing guitarist-singer-songwriter of major league status like Willy Porter (last night’s headliner at Steve’s) and we are glad to have him in the same week,” wrote shop owner Steve Standiford in his weekly e-mail update. “He’s one of the best slide guitarists around and his songs are beautiful.”

Phelps it touring on the heels of the release of his Rounder Records debut, “Tunesmith Retrofit,” featuring his country/blues and folk style, and winning raves for his chops as a lyricist, as well as a musician.

“Is it too much to call this Oregon singer-songwriter and guitarist the quiet genius of contemporary American folk?” mused one reviewer.

Tickets are $25 and going fast, according to Standiford. Phelps played to a packed house last year at the Carbondale venue. E-mail Standiford at to reserve a seat, or take your chances at the door.

On Friday, Steve’s hosts a gig in support of Carbondale ballot question 2F, a bond issue to build two large-scale solar energy systems in town. Revenues from the systems are intended to pay off the bonds.

Standiford is donating $100 and free use of the venue to the fund-raiser. The goal, he said, is to raise at least $1,200 to get word out to the public regarding 2F. The night promises performances by local musicians, along with an appearance by 2F advocates, who will be on hand to answer questions.

Finally, Carbondale-based bluegrass quintet the Hell Roaring String Band winds up the string of music at Steve’s with an appearance Saturday night. The band is no stranger to the tiny stage, performing there regularly and recording a CD, “Hell or High Water,” at the shop last February.

The band includes fiddler Shannon Meyer, banjoist Kayo Ogilby, new bassist Brett Nelson, guitarist Mark Sumera and mandolinist Ted Frisbie.

Said Standiford in his e-mail: “We always have a great time with this talented band of local musicians. They recorded a cool CD of their songs in the shop and this Saturday, they will play these tunes for us live.

“We will miss Andrew Gardiner on stand-up bass (and comedy), but I hear that Brett Nelson has been a great addition to the band. We all love to hear Ted Frisbee’s voice and he plays a mean mandolin. …His good buddy, Mark Semaru, just rips it up on guitar, whether it’s a Who cover or a cool original. Shannon plays a hot fiddle and has an authentic voice like from some holler or Appalachian front porch. We are so glad that Kayo came back from New York to rejoin the band complete with new banjo skills.”

Steve’s is at 19 N. Fourth St. in downtown Carbondale. Shows start at 8:30 p.m.

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