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Troy Campbell

American Breakdown – 2003 (Loud House)

Reviewed by Bill Silvers

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CDs by Troy Campbell

Troy Campbell got his start in the '90s with Austin roots-rockers Loose Diamonds, but on his second solo record, he's created a beautiful work of emotional depth and power. Ably assisted throughout by producer and multi-instrumentalist Gurf Morlix (who plays most instruments here, save drums and sometimes guitar), Campbell's vocals and songs are the centerpiece.

There's a dark, dramatic tone to the record that serves the songs well. Campbell's voice soars over the obstacles, the mood heightened by Morlix's deft production and playing touch. Things start out pleasantly enough with the bright "Sad Truth," but the title track best mirrors the mood. "Only love breaks through, I was counting on you to take me out of this place," sings Campbell against a background of organ and guitar fadeout.

"Sorrytown" finds its narrator trying in vain to revisit times past, and "Sleeping Without You" maintains the disconnected mood. There's also a nod to Campbell's Loose Diamonds past with the bonus track cover of Jo Carol Pierce's "Ruby." "The World Keeps On Ending," says one of the standout songs here, but Troy Campbell's just getting started.