Flyinshoes Review

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Rob Ellen

KATE CAMPBELL —THE K.A.O TAPES (Vol.1) (Large River Records)


Here is yet another recording epic from Southern girl, singer-songwriter Kate Campbell. Her depth of emotion, lyrical content and general poetic warmth help elevate her to a place reserved for special performers. Those of a unique talent, this time around she has a bunch of wonderful musicians escort her through her work. Campbell hasn’t only gone for her own material, but places a unique spin on standards “America”, Kris Kristofferson’s “Me And Bobbie McGee”, southern rock perennial “Freebird” and Richard Thompson’s classic “From Galway To Graceland”; to go with timeless gospel favourites “Jesus, Savour, Pilot Me”, “Passing Through” and “I Am A Pilgrim” to her own “The Locust Years” and “Strangeness Of the Day”. The latter warmed in sumptuous Dobro and accordion is arguably the best performance on the record; one recorded on her I phone 5 and/ or two mics in her living room by David Henry and at other places across America.   


Campbell’s love of rural beauty and real people see her (guitar, wurlitzer, lead, harmony vocals) and Missy Raines (upright bass, harmony vocals), Laura Boosinger (banjo), Steve Smith (mandolin, harmony vocals), Joey Miskulin (accordion), Spooner Oldham (Hammond B-3 Organ, Glockenspiel), Sally Van Meter (dobro), John Kirk (fiddle) and Ben Surratt (tambourine) produce, especially on the likes of  “I Am A Pilgrim” a warm, homely ambiance. Her graceful delivery of other gospel gems “Jesus, Savour, Pilot Me” and “Passing Through” are just as faultless, and suited to Campbell’s style. Warmed in Hammond B-3, upright bass and a gentle shuffling rhythm that builds in sublime fashion as momentum ignites more that just a little passion Campbell comes into her own.


On visiting the deep south “The Locust Song” resonates great depth before she lightens the mood with dobro, accordion and bass warmed “Strangeness Of the Day”; and with her own voice adding harmony vocals it reaches a heady height few come near. Arguably, the finest song on the record Campbell it has the likes of “Seven Miles Home”, “Greensboro” and “Some Song” to go with the song she recalls as being the last one performed at her high school prom in 1979, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Freebird”.


Of the covers (the traditional gospel songs accepted) I am tempted to call her version of “Me And Bobbie McGee” and “From Graceland To Galway” as the pick, but I guess it could be down to the mood of the day. Talking of which, the album as her work tend to be it possess many melancholy thought provoking moments. 


                                                      Maurice Hope   

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December 2018
Malford Milligan
75 pts.
Life Will Humble You
Royal Family Records
JD McPherson
61 pts.
New West Records
Rosanne Cash
50 pts.
She Remembers Everything
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Ad Vanderveen
45 pts.
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44 pts.
The Eclipse Sessions
New West
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41 pts.
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Tip Jar
40 pts.
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39 pts.
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Angry Stick Recording Co.
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Some People I Know
Compass Records
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30 pts.
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Brambus Records
Steve Forbert
29 pts.
The Magic Tree
Blue Rose Music
J.P. Harris
28 pts.
Sometimes Dogs Bark At Nothing
Free Dirt Records
The Bottle Rockets
24 pts.
Bit Logic
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22 pts.
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Come Hell Or High Water
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