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Ted Russell Kamp

Flying Solo – 2016 (PoMo)

Reviewed by Lee Zimmerman

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CDs by Ted Russell Kamp

Considering Ted Russell Kamp's wide range of expertise - as a songwriter, session player and, of course, solo performer - it's somewhat shocking to find him paring down his efforts for thee unadorned acoustic performances, all recorded sans any flourish or accompaniment. Indeed, aside from occasional added harmonies and extra incidental guitars, "Flying Solo" is exactly what it's billed to be, Kamp alone handling vocals, guitar, Dobro, bass and mandolin. Yet, despite the stripped down premise, it still makes for a sturdy set-up, one which boasts an even mix of new studio tracks and live recordings culled from concerts and on-air appearances Happily, the lack of extravagance doesn't detract from the quality of these compositions. Instead, it provides Kamp extra opportunity to invest untarnished emotion into each of his offerings. More like demos than polished productions ("Lookin' For Someone" is, in fact, just that), the album clearly basks in the basics

On the other hand, the fact that these tracks were written in some glittering locales - specifically, L.A., Austin and Nashville - helps underscore his insider status. Not surprisingly then, a live take of "Steady At The Wheel" finds Kamp, its composer, recasting a song that became a hit for Shooter Jennings. There are any number of other songs that offer equal potential - "Life On The River," "Hold On" and "Lookin' For Someone in particular. Even in skeletal form, the song craft still shines.

In some ways, "Flying Solo" could be considered the ideal introduction for those who aren't familiar with Kamp's earlier outings. The songs take precedence in these performances and offer opportunity to evaluate him on the basis of sentiment and circumspect. There's more to his abilities than his songwriting suggests, but in this circumstance anyway, "Flying Solo" is all it takes for him to soar.