If you're a reader of songwriting credits, Shawn Camp's name is probably familiar. Though his mid-'90's major label debut as an artist stiffed at country radio, in recent years, he's co-written such hits as Garth Brooks ' "Two Pina Coladas" and Brooks and Dunn's "How Long Gone," and his songs have graced albums by both mainstream country stars and bluegrass acts like the Del McCoury Band.
His new album is more a labor of love than a bid for stardom, and not surprisingly, it's probably more satisfying than another effort at breaking through on country radio would have been. The production is first-class, framing Camp's intimate vocals with just the right instrumental touches, and has an organic, rootsy feel. The songs - all co-written by Camp with such friends as John Scott Sherrill and Gary Scruggs - range from "How Long Gone" to "Can't Have One Without The Other" (previously recorded by Tracy Byrd), are well-crafted and memorable, offering sly humor ("Baby's Gone Home To Mama"), down-home stories ("The Tune Of A Twenty Dollar Bill") and, of course, plenty of takes on lost love.
Between the unpretentious arrangements, skilled yet soulful performances and elegantly constructed songs, this is an album that should appeal to almost every country music fan.