Bluesmaster Kelly Joe Phelps Is Taking Some Time Away from Music

The nature of this business is stressful. Artists are expected to write, record and tour non-stop. If anyone deserves time off, it's musicians.

Kelly Joe Phelps is taking some time away from the music industry.

According to a post on Facebook yesterday, the musician “disappeared,” alarming friends and fans concerned for his health and his whereabouts. The FB post stated that Kelly Joe checked in and let people know he was fine, but announced he was taking a hiatus of undetermined time. The musician did not elaborate on the reasons for his departure.

Whether or not Kelly Joe will return to touring and recording is unclear, but he said he would let fans know.

I have been playing Kelly Joe’s music on my radio show for sometime now.  So, naturally, I was somewhat disheartened by his news.

Artists take breaks for personal reasons all the time. The nature of this business is stressful. Artists are expected to write, record and tour non-stop. If anyone deserves time off, it is musicians. And there are other reasons too.

A number of years ago an artist that I really enjoyed and had become friends with gave up music in favor of motherhood. And over the course of the past year, two of the best radio disc jockeys in New York City, Pat St. John and Vin Scelsa, both retired from active radio. They are both greatly missed, and, I think, the quality of New York radio is diminished with their leaving.

And that’s the problem, right? Artists who need a break, or retire, or want to start a family, are simply missed. Maybe I’m being overly sensitive. It could be that I just don’t like change very much. I find comfort in things that stay the same.

For instance, last week, The Rolling Stones released a new album of blues standards and it is awesome. This comes 53 years after their debut release. Wow. No change there. The Stones are still on fire.

I, myself, have been doing radio for almost 49 years. I can’t fathom not doing it. Yet I know eventually the day will come that I no longer sit behind my mic playing tunes over the airwaves.

But like the Stones, there’s still a fire in me, folks. I’m not ready to hang it up just yet. And until that fateful day comes, I will strive to play the best music I can find for those of you who choose to listen.

And what can I say. This past year produced some great music. I’m really looking forward to 2017. And as for Kelly Joe? Well we can only hope he will choose to return to music. Until then we wish him the very best.

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Chris MacIntosh aka Grandfather Rock is the host of "Rock N Soul Gospel" the world's most long running rock n roll radio show....
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1 Comment

  • Oh man, I only got into his music in the last few years. He has toured Australia before and I missed him.

    There was some news going around about an RSI-related injury, but please don’t take that as gospel from me. Let’s let KJP let us know not if (hopefully) but when he returns.

    Best wishes to him. Master musician.

    Thanks for the article!

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