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Blue Ridge Reveille

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Album Review

There are few who can combine the earthy feeling of Gillian Welch with the ethereal, airy, and precious voice of Emmylou Harris. For Shelley Campbell, she fits somewhere between the two, never surpassing the grace of Harris but coming extremely close to matching her. The waltz-like dirge of "Drivin You" brings to mind Patsy Cline or a Victoria Williams with a slight warble in her vocals. The power in her voice, though, is apparent halfway into the song. "Is It You?" falls into the classic country honky tonk approach, with Campbell singing just above a hushed whisper in the vein of Tift Merritt or Allison Moorer. But her harmony vocals in unison with her lead vocals create a gorgeous effect that is bound to cause shivers down the spines of some. The album veers into a poppy mode with the radio-friendly midtempo toe-tapper "Typical Truckstop." The likableness of each song is the best asset of the record, especially with the pleasing Welch-esque "Unsatisfied," which strolls along with a roots-folksy feel. There are also some distinct Canadian vignettes happening on the uptempo, infectious, and rolling "New Year's Eve at the Legion," a number suggesting the likes of Tammy Wynette or Jessi Colter. Assisted by Bocephus King, the tune hits the home stretch with a band performing "Auld Lang Syne" to give it even more color. The aptly titled "Dreamin" is perhaps the strongest track here, which is saying quite a lot. "Beautiful Child" tends to take a page from the Mavericks, with its slightly Tex-Mex style. The roots tune has to be the midtempo "Nightsong," which builds in momentum by the second verse à la Lucinda Williams. Campbell nails the last few songs, including the uplifting, hymn-like "No Fear" with its militaristic backbeat. The title track is another slow waltz-like tune that will always shine. Blue Ridge Reveille is a timeless collection of songs by a singer reared on great female country artists.

Blue Ridge Reveille, Shelley Campbell
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