Joel RL Phelps & The Downer Trio – Sleepers Awake – Play It Again, Sam

Joel RL Phelps & The Downer Trio - Sleepers Awake

Who shot… Joel RL Phelps?

Joel RL Phelps. Sounds like a character out of Dallas, right? Must be someone that JR Ewing bumped off to acquire his vast fortune, or maybe it was simply to capture his collection of fantastic cowboy hats. Wish I had a cowboy hat. Alas, no. Joel RL Phelps is in fact a singer songwriter originating from Montana and founding member of seminal indie rock band Silkworm. He ditched them some twenty years ago and carved out a niche solo career for himself for the next ten years. Don’t know what he did next, but it wasn’t his solo work. Eventually, his plectrum finger got itchy again and he returned last year with his moody and measured comeback album Gala.

I’ll readily admit it. I had never heard of him until Monday night when good ol George from Damnably (the record label where Phelps lays his hat) emailed me this song. George is a good man. “Sleepers Awake”, a bonus track on Gala, is a plaintive acoustic ballad that eschews any maudlin over emoting in favour of a song full of ordinary but evocative imagery: “Rain turns to snow today, then it turns back again, having given up the ghost.” I could go into analysis mode here and discuss how the lyrics hint at the role of fate and inevitability in nature and our lives and how humanity, like the rain, is powerless to resist constant universal truths. But I won’t. I’ll simply say it’s a gem of a tune. Check it out.

Gala is out now via Damnably. Purple monkey dishwasher. All I need is eight more words and I’ll be to 300.

Maybe see if you can check him out on what remains of his European Tour!

18 Sep. FRIEBURG, Slowclub DE

19 Sep. WEIKERSHEIM, Club W71 DE

20 Sep. UTRECHT, dB’s NL

21 Sep. TILBURG, Incubate Festival NL

22 Sep. LONDON, The Windmill UK

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