Joel RL Phelps is a songwriter originally from Montana and was part of the indie rock band Silkworm. He left that band in 1994 and since has recorded his own material. He recorded his first non-Silkworm album in 1995 in Seattle with members of other bands such as Jessamine, Citizens’ Utilities, Engine Kid, and the Deflowers assisting. The following records pared down the members to a trio including Joel, Bill Herzog (Citizens’ Utilities, Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter, Sunn O)))), and Robert Mercer (the Deflowers, Treasure State). The instrumentation is somewhat shared but essentially Joel on vocals and guitar, Robert Mercer on bass, and William Herzog on drums. Together they are known as Joel RL Phelps and the Downer Trio.

The group continues recording, and touring, but with much less frequency than in the 1990s when there were tours with Damon and Naomi, and Mark Eitzel. The Trio has shared the stage with many notable acts such as Television, Billy Bragg, Low, Palace, Bonny Prince Billy, and Modest Mouse.

Joel RL Phelps & The Downer Trio announce the release of Gala September 17 on Triple Crown Audio Recordings of Canada

Joel RL Phelps Releasing New Album

Joel RL Phelps & The Downer Trio have announced the release of their new LP, Gala, on Tuesday, September 17 via Triple Crown Audio Recordings of Canada. The album features Phelps (the former guitarist/vocalist in Silkworm) delivering twelve songs that weave between humbled introspection and fractured,

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