Flyinshoes Review

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Singer-songwriter Kate Campbell has long been one of those whose work I have championed. Her studious songs are of the kind that edge their way to one’s heart, opposed to knocking you sideways or hitting you front on with some hooky  lyric or infectious melody. Although she can do this too! Strong and unbending in voice and, lyrically Kate Campbell has an inbuilt ability to transfer the listener deep into the heart of America’s South in double quick time. Supported on the two nights playing live in Texas by dobro ace Sally Van Meter (background vocals) and the versatile Scott Ainslie (guitar, banjo, tambourine, background vocals) plus Don Porterfield on bass and harmony vocals the guitar and piano playing Campbell sings of cotton fields, poor black women struggling against the tide of hatred and segregation. Of when they called in the Nation Guard in Alabama during a time when there was a coloured line for black people and people were hankering for a change of how they were treated when thy stood up for their rights. Kate saw all this and more better than most white girls through her father. Who as a preacher met all kinds and viewed them all the same and on top of this there were days when as a child the family rode took trips in a Galaxie 500; talking of trips ‘Jesus And Tomatoes’ is a humorous piece that was inspired by a sign spotted at a roadside fruit and vegetable stall in west Carolina (she doesn't say whether it was, north or south). Another that speaks of the lure of the road is ‘See Rock City’. That rattles along at a nifty lick as she speaks in romantic terms of feeling the wind through her hair and through her weaving together spare stark southern textures that take in folk, blues, gospel and country. A good example of her work is the vibrant, Dobro prompted ‘Genesis Blues’ that has her claim ‘it all started with the blues’ and if you were from the deep South it is a logical assumption.     

During the course of the shows Campbell speaks of ‘Tupelo’s Too Far’ (1996) being her breakthrough song even though she had been writing since she was a child ‘it felt like I was getting somewhere with this and ended it up the way I wanted it’. Meanwhile ‘Rosa’s Coronas / Lanterns of the Levee’ takes the listener on a trip, by boat from Havana to the United States as she speaks of the art of rolling them prior to her edging along the levee and of how lanterns will shine.   


                                                Maurice Hope                  


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November 2017

JW Roy & The Royal Family
80 pts.
A Room Full Of Strangers
Royal Family Records
Chris Hillman
79 pts.
Bidin' My Time
Turnpike Troubadours
46 pts.
Long Away From Your Heart
Bossier City Records
Jolie Holland & Samantha Parton
36 pts.
Wildflower Blues
Cinquefoil Records
Eilen Jewell
34 pts.
Down Hearted Blues
Signature Sounds
Lucinda Williams
31 pts.
This Sweet Old World
Highway 20/Thirty Tigers
JD McPherson
29 pts.
Undivided Heart & Soul
New West
Mark Martyre
26 pts.
Tom Russell
26 pts.
Folk Hotel
Frontera Records-Proper Records
Anna Tivel
25 pts.
Small Believer
Fluff And Gravy Records
Margo Price
25 pts.
All American Made
Third Man Records
Fred Wickham
22 pts.
Mariosa Delta
Thirty Days Records
Joe Henry
22 pts.
Ear Music
Whitney Rose
22 pts.
Rule 62
Six Shooter/Thirty Tigers
Dick LeMasters
18 pts.
Incompatible Things
Longneck Road Music
Jim White
18 pts.
Waffles, Triangles & Jesus
Loose Music
Peter Gallway
18 pts.
Feels Like Religion
Gallway Bay Music
Thomm Jutz
17 pts.
Crazy If You Let It
Mountain Fever Records
Kris Delmhorst
16 pts.
The Wild
Blue Blade Records
Daniel Crabtree
15 pts.
In The Shadow Of His Wings
Jeremy Pinnell
15 pts.
Ties Of Blood And Affection
Sofaburn Records
Julien Baker
15 pts.
Turn Out The Lights
Amber Cross
14 pts.
Savage on the Downhill
Chris Blevins
14 pts.
Better than Alone
Horton Records
David Rawlings
14 pts.
Poor David's Almanack
Acony Records
Grainne Duffy
14 pts.
Where I Belong
Jeff Crosby
14 pts.
Postcards From Magdalena
At The Helm Records

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