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Singer-songwriter Kelly Joe Phelps looks like a Kid Rock roadie, but sounds like James Taylor. The Oregon troubadour's new CD, Tunesmith Retrofit, eases down an amiable trail of acoustic guitars and wistful lyrics. Dig beneath the tunes' deceptively mellow grooves, however, and you'll spot a cast of characters falling out of love and into hard-luck lives. Phelps' sixth album is less bluesy than past efforts, but his subtle fretwork and breezy melodies remain durably rustic.
Thu., Aug. 17, 7:30 p.m.

Speaking of Highlights

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