Reviews

Ted Russell Kamp’s Down In The Den


By Brian Rock

Ted Russell Kamp gets down on his twelfth release, Down In The Den. The Den, of course, is the name of Kamp’s home studio; and the album has a relaxed, down home feel to it. Drawing from his extensive history as an Americana artist, producer and session musician for the likes of Shooter Jennings (who lends a hand on this album), Tanya Tucker, Jessi Colter and other genre A-listers; Kamp explores the nuances of Country, Rock and Blues and adds touches of Jazz and Soul to create a richly textured album.

Leading off with the funky, “Home Sweet Hollywood,” Kamp lays down some Joe Walsh style guitar licks and borrows an irresistible groove from “Northeast Texas Women” from legendary Texas troubadour Willis Alan Ramsy to sing the praises of “Every actress waiting tables, every bartender working in a band” in the city of angels. While admitting its flaws, he confesses, “you gotta be crazy to stay… I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Kamp explores Blues themes and arrangements in “Have Some Faith,” and “Saint Severin.” Kamp’s A.J. Croce meets Wolfman Jack voice adds gravitas to each. That growly, raspy voice also adds depth to his ballads: “Rainy Day Valentine,” “Stick With Me,” “Hold On,” “Take My Song With You,” and the touching generation-spanning ode to family, “Only Son.”

Like Gram Parsons before him, Ted Russell Kamp digs to the very roots of American music to create an honest, organic musical expression that defies easy categorization. Like the recently rediscovered Laurel Canyon collective of the early seventies, Kamp creates a sound that resonates on a soul level. He magnifies that effect with the addition of Memphis style horns and Hammond organ in “Word For Word,” and “Every Little Thing You Need.” The latter of which is a feel-good declaration of devotion. Singing, “’Cause you made my dreams come true, I’ve gotta do the same for you.” Kamp illustrates the power of positive karma when we work together.

The influence of Shooter Jennings manifests itself in Kamp’s two Honky-Tonk songs. “The Good Part” has echoes of Lyle Lovett’s “San Antonio Girl” as he dives head first into the weekend singing, “The best is yet to come and the night is still so young. We’re off to a running start, just get me to the good part.” On “My Turn To Cry,” he explores the other side of the coin; singing about what happens when a ramblin’ lifestyle finally catches up with you.

The most unexpected moments on the album come when Kamp infuses a little Dixieland Jazz into the mix. “Hobo Nickel” is an easy flowing stroll down Bourbon Street where every decision is determined by the flip of a coin. “Waste A Little Time With Me” is a spirited and spicy invitation to get out and enjoy life. Both songs incorporate a jazzy horn section worthy of Preservation Hall.

Mellow, melodic, yet moving; this album is calming comforting, and occasionally inspiring. With its seamless fusion of musical styles, and lyrics of love and hope, Down In The Den is the perfect soundtrack for your “den” or “man cave” or “safe space” or “fortress of solitude” or wherever you go to unplug from the problems of the world.

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Brian Rock

Brian Rock

Brian was raised gypsy style, moving every other year until well after college. As friendships proved to be temporary, Brian found a constant companion in music, wearing the grooves off Beatles and Dylan albums before moving on to Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yokam. Living so often in flux, he has come to value music and lyrics of lasting quality. Not moved by trends or fashion, he is drawn to timeless lyrics and soulful rhythms. Although now settled down, Brian still expresses his gypsy spirit through his writing. He has co-written songs with musician friends he’s met along the way, including several contributions to the 2012 ICMA Album of the Year, Family Album. Brian also writes children’s books and poems, including the Children’s Book Council featured title, The Deductive Detective.
Brian Rock

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