Rock 'n' roll, distilled
Inhabiting much of the same musical territory as the Blasters, Dave Edmunds, the Beat Farmers and Big Sandy, Buzz Campbell & Hot Rod Lincoln play a hard-charging yet swinging brand of countrified roots rock.
Built around the oh-so-smooth vocals of Campbell and almost a dozen solid, original songs (plus a handful of covers), the band's new album, "Runaway Girl," is top-to-bottom listening pleasure. For only having a trio Campbell plays guitar in addition to singing, while Ty Cox plays drums and Tim Butler bass, with both providing harmony vocals the band gets a very big, full sound. Credit the band's stellar musicianship or their solid arrangements whatever it is, the band sounds more like a five-piece than three.
But it comes down to the songs, as any album does in the end. And on this score, Campbell shows he's got a lot to contribute, having written or co-written 11 of the 15 tracks here. There's a classic honky tonk feel to many of Campbell's songs "Blue" belongs on a jukebox at some greasy-spoon in a small town somewhere on the Great Plains or Deep South. "Too Drunk to Drive" hearkens back to the uptempo bad-boy country of the 1970s, while "Runaway Girl" recalls the spirit of Buddy Holly or Edmunds' late '70s solo projects. And "Invasion From Mars" is a tight little tribute to Billy Lee Riley's classic if forgotten "Flying Saucer Rock 'n' Roll."
All of it is played with infectious joy and pure abandon: It's the perfect distillation of the rock 'n' roll spirit.
© Copyright Jim Trageser
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