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KATE CAMPBELL —LIVE AT THE LIBRARY with Dr. Wayne Flynt (Large River Music)

Presently, singer-songwriter Kate Campbell is putting out her album, The K.O.A Tapes (w/ Spooner Oldham and Missy Raines), but before we look at it I feel this overlooked recording from two years ago needs to be looked at first. 

Recorded at Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama from the New South Homecoming Weekend, singer-songwriter Kate Campbell’s music is steeped in historic values of the American South as she takes the listener through stories of the landscape, rural and urban, racial differences, oppression and the part played by religion and how progress has brought people an easier life on one side, and on the other undermined certain aspects of community /family life. Not least all too often the heritage of the working people, the people who helped shaped what others were to later to benefit from. Birmingham, Alabama itself gains prime place in Flagg’s Fried Green Tomatoes.. peppered with humour it gains a good few laughs through her revealing words.  


To go with Campbell’s handful of songs are by readings from books; Harper Lee To Kill A Mockingbird; Fannie Flagg’s Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Café; Mark Childress’ Crazy In Alabama; Dennis Covington’s Salvation On Sand Mountain and three short excerpts from Flannery O’Conner by Dr. Wayne Flynt.


Awash in tales of a troubled history the songs and readings help place light on what those in Alabama and neighbouring states had to endure, and on many occasions helplessly watch. As told in the likes of Campbell’s “Crazy In Alabama”, Covington’s Salvation On Sand Mountain and O’Connor’s poignant writings. Plus of course her descriptive view of the “New South” coupled with “Deep Tang” and a composition she wrote for the big read (To Kill A Mockingbird the book chosen by a Boston radio station), “Sorrowfree” to be included on a CD by a bunch of acts.


            Maurice Hope         

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September 2018

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