Ted Russell Kamp is an impressive multi-taker. Consider the fact that he has a dozen solo albums while also maintaining a dual career as bassist for Shooter Jennings' band, That said, he boasts a consistent sound regardless of whatever banner he happens to be operating under - a rich and rugged alt.-country delivery that he plies with dedicated determination.
"Walkin' Shoes" expresses that attitude with his usual flair and finesse. The sass and spunk that ricochet through such songs as "Home Away From Home," "We Don't Have To Be Alone," "Written In Stone" and "Less Thinkin', More Drinkin'" reflect a rowdy, rebellious attitude that's caught up in a series of rocking refrains. Still, Kamp's prone to be as tender as he is tenacious, as evidenced by a pair of sensitive ballads, the steel guitar-laced "This Old Guitar" and the earnest and expressive "Freeway Mona Lisa."
Overall however, Kamp is clearly committed to an upbeat sound, one that varies from the funky grooves of "Tail Light Shine," the rollicking refrains that accompany "Just About Time For A Heartache" and the jaunty delivery of "Get Off the Grid." Kamp purveys an easy, unaffected attitude that eschews any real gravitas, opting instead for an approach that's really only intended to elevate the mood and guarantee a good time.
Ultimately then, "Walkin' Shoes" is mostly a top down, highway hugging expression of energy and exuberance, complete escapism in its most desirable form. For that reason alone, it's a set of songs that's well worth acquiring. Times are tough, but Kamp offers opportunity to take a stoic stance and center attention on more pleasant pursuits. Worry not..."Walkin' Shoes" gets you there quickly.
Lee Zimmerman is a freelance writer and author based in Maryville, Tenn. He also expounds on music on his web site, Stories Beyond the Music - Americana Music Reviews, Interviews & Articles. His new book - Americana Music - Voices, Visionaries and Pioneers of an Honest Sound - is available from Texas A&M University Publishing.