David Phelps says he and his band members always get a boost when they see Ashland’s Paramount Arts Center on their concert schedule.
“It’s always an incredible crowd,” Phelps said last week as he prepared for Friday’s performance at the Paramount. “For me and my band, every time Ashland is on the calendar ... we all pick up. We know it’s going to be a great show.”
Friday’s show will include a new facet of Phelps’ musical journey, he said, explaining he will perform selections from his latest album “Classic,” along with fan favorites such as “No More Night.” Since his last appearance in Ashland, Phelps said his sister, Kari, who is a classical trumpet player, has joined the band along with violinist Alida Osterlin.
“I feel like I have a world-class band,” he said.
The new album is a “return to my roots,” he said, explaining he wanted to record and perform classical songs which require his full range of vocal skills.
“It is pretty amazing to be able to stand up and sing gospel and then classical and have the crowd react. It’s been a real game changer for me. I did not do classical for years because I thought I couldn’t do it on my terms. Then I matured enough to say, ‘Who cares?’ It has been a pretty amazing ride since I stepped out and did that. It has opened doors and people embrace it,” he said, later noting his current show includes songs his fans have known for some time.
“I think they would string me up if I didn’t do familiar songs with the new stuff,” he said with a laugh.
The current tour will also take Phelps and his band back to Europe. The vocalist said he credits the power of YouTube, as well as the popularity of the Gaithers, for his fan base abroad.
“I have always been amazed when we go into countries that don’t speak English and the crowd is singing along every word to my songs,” he said with a chuckle. “When I’m singing something like ‘No More Night’ they can correct me on the lyrics if I forget them!”
In addition to a major tour to promote “Classic,” Phelps said he plans to spend his summer finishing up a bathroom renovation project, building cabinets and driving his oldest daughter to college. Phelps said he is also looking forward to the PBS broadcast of a television special which is also titled “Classic,” featuring songs recorded during one of his live performances.
“That will be on PBS July 26 at 10 p.m.,” he said.
Tickets for David Phelps: Classic at the Paramount Arts Center are still available. For ticket information, call (606) 324-3175.
TIM PRESTON can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2651.