March 2003

"Few songwriters can deftly weave separate similes involving Popeye, Olive Oyl and Sweet Pea into a single verse. Fewer still can make it sound deeply soulful. But such are the gifts that make Phelps such a remarkable artist. Besides his off-kilter lyrical expression, Phelps boasts a haunting vocal rasp and unmatched mastery of finger style and slide guitar. Together, these elements explore the deepest shades of blue, and they have never worked better than on this disc. Be it the melancholy waltz of "Not So Far To Go", or the shuffling blues of the title track, Phelps makes the sublime sound effortless. He enjoys spare, but detailed support throughout, notably from Jesse Zubot's plaintive violin and some truly thrilling guitar cameos by Bill Frisell. This is music that rings with bittersweet experience."