Charlotte’s Web presents Kelly Joe Phelps with Zubot & Dawson

Three exciting performers hit the stage this weekend as Charlotte’s Web presents Kelly Joe Phelps with Zubot & Dawson. Catch them at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28, at Leisure Tyme, 1434 N. Main St., Rockford.

Phelps is known for his transcendent live performances and critically acclaimed albums. His first three were stripped-down, “man and guitar” recordings, establishing him as one of the premier slide guitar players today. Phelps asked Rykodisc President George Howard to produce his fourth album, Sky Like A Broken Clock, which debuted in 2001. With backup from Larry Taylor on string bass and Billy Conway on drums and percussion, another hit was born. This latest album is also notable for its lyrical quality. Kelly Joe Phelps has always written evocative lyrics, but they’re particularly strong and moving here.

Phelps’ albums have inspired music critics to kick into high gear, waxing poetic as they describe the moods his music evokes. “It seems his fingers have their own tireless spirit guides,” wrote Pulse! Jazz Times noted that, “Phelps goes pretty deep inside to come up with stuff this rare. It is highly personal, unpretentious and wholly affecting music.” U2’s The Edge says, “Kelly Joe Phelps is a great example of what the modern blues is all about … without any hint of rehash or retread.” “Some of the most emotionally thrilling blues music ever recorded,” raved Dirty Linen, calling him “a true original.”

The next act features Jesse Zubot (on fiddle and mandolin) and Steve Dawson (slide, Hawaiian, acoustic and Weissenborn guitars). Their specialty is “strang”—(noun) an original hybrid of acoustic instrumental string music created by two crazy dudes from Vancouver, B.C., as defined by their press release. Strang was the name of their debut album, released in May 1998. Zubot is a native of Saskatchewan, Canada, now living in Vancouver, B.C. He studied jazz at Capilano College in Vancouver. Dawson, a native of British Columbia, resides in Vancouver. He studied music at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass. They are both active studio and performing musicians who started working together more than seven years ago in a band called The Spirit Merchants. They have won numerous awards and performed in venues such as the Folk Festivals at Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatchewan, Vancouver, and other venues at Whitehorse, Comox Valley, Seattle, Toronto, etc.

Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door. This show is co-sponsored by WNIJ-FM 89.5 radio. Tickets are available at Rockford Area Arts Council, 713 E. State St., 963-6765; The Postal Shoppe, Edgebrook Center, 397-7301; and Tin Whistle, N. Main & Auburn, 963-0270; or by mail with check and SASE, 10928 N. Main, Rockton, IL 61072. For Web information, call 964-2238.

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