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Artist: Kate Campbell
Label: Compadre Records
Have you ever heard of Kate Campbell? You know, the southern preacher’s daughter who writes and sings acoustic, singer-songwriter stuff? If you’ve never heard of Kate Campbell, her album Sing Me Out will serve as a great introduction to her music.
Kate Campbell’s “Sing Me Out” is a compilation CD comprised of songs released on other albums, but all the songs have been re-recorded for this album. I hadn’t heard any of her records before Sing Me Out; so all the songs were new to me. Campbell’s backing band for this album is “The Very Odd String Band” and the arrangements for the songs feature all acoustic instruments and no drum tracks. This provides a very laid back feel to the record and puts the emphasis on Campbell’s voice and lyrics.
Most of the time Kate’s songs are witty and charming, but on occasion her music falls into over-sentimentalism and sap. Maybe her material strikes me wrong, but I tend to think some of her story-songs rely a little too heavily on a wellspring of sappiness. When Kate’s whimsical style works well, on songs like “Jesus and Tomatoes” and “Ave Maria Grotto,” she is charming. When Kate’s whimsy falls a little short, we’re left with songs like “Would You be a Parson” and “Who Will Pray for Junior.” Both of these songs approach religious ideas in a manner I found to be simplistic and slightly corny.
“Sing Me Out” is a good collection of honest, country-tinged folk songs. I may be a little too young to appreciate the sentimentalism in Kate Campbell’s music, but I’m sure women over the age of 30 will enjoy this record, and that is meant more as a compliment than a criticism.
Scott Hearne 8/30/2004