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Kate Campbell

Save the Day – 2008 (Large River)

Reviewed by Tim FitzPatrick

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CDs by Kate Campbell

Kate Campbell has earned a reputation as a singer-songwriter who fills her songs with vivid references to southern culture. While her latest may contain fewer overt autobiographical references than her earlier efforts, it still feels firmly grounded in Americana.

Fordlandia, with Nanci Griffith on harmony vocals, tells the story Henry Ford's failed attempt to build a company town in South America. The playful Back to the Moon laments the end of the Apollo missions. Looking for Jesus takes on religious tourism with gentle humor, appearing neither pious nor cynical. Everybody Knows Elvis has a great twist in the middle.

Campbell, and producer Walt Aldridge, do a good job presenting the songs. The instrumentation is varied, electric guitar on some cuts, banjo on others, organs and layered backing vocals on others. Campbell's voice stays front and center in the mix. With her charismatic drawl, she's able to rhyme words like deal and will without sounding affected. All of this gives the record a feel very similar to her past efforts. In Kate Campbell's case, this is a good thing.