I suppose the best way to begin would be to say that, when I told a couple of friends that I had gotten 'Blues and Lamentations' to review, I received no fewer than thirteen phone calls from friends of friends asking how the disc was and could they borrow it when I was done reviewing it. That's how it is with Campbell's devoted following: They know they're in for something special, and her tenth release, her first on her own imprint Large River Music, will not disappoint them or anyone looking for a blues album that doesn't sadden, but relieves.
Blues and Lamentations is that rare 'blues' album that doesn't willfully fall into the chunka-chunka, my baby left me, chunka-chunka, the boss man sucks and the rent is due chunka-chunka category. Recorded in Nashville with guest vocalists Guy Clark, Maura O'Connell, and a host of trad players including Carl Jones - banjo, guitar, mandolin; Dave Jacques - bass, Ron de la Vega - cello, Larry Franklin - fiddle; Randy Kohrs - dobro; Jim Hoke - clarinet, harmonica, autoharp, accordion; and producer Walt Aldridge - guitar. Campbell brings her distinctively expressive voice and sharp, studied eye for detail and southern mythology to the fore on such memorable songs as Wheels Within Wheels (I'll let you research the history and heartbreak); the haunting and haunted Shallow Grave; the prayerful Peace Comes Stealing Slow; Freedom Train; Miles of Blues; and the traditional, yet very Kate sounding Pan of Biscuits and Mining Camp Blues.
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