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For the Living of These Days

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Album Review

Although country and Anglo-American folk have a lot of common heritage (both are descendants of Celtic, Welsh, and British folk), the two have often parted company in a big way when it comes to political and social attitudes. Folk has long been a bastion of liberal activism, whereas country is one area of the music world in which neocons are not hard to find — which is why the Dixie Chicks caught so much flack for criticizing the George W. Bush Administration in 2003 (no one on the folk circuit is going to boycott Ani DiFranco or Phranc for opposing the neocon agenda). Folk audiences, on the whole, are disdainful of the modern country/pop/gospel artists who openly support far-right organizations like the Christian Coalition, but that doesn't mean that folk has to be secular or that the folk scene is anti-religion — and For the Living of These Days is a perfect example of a Christian-themed folk album. With this 2006 recording (which boasts Spooner Oldham on piano and organ), Southern singer/songwriter Kate Campbell maintains both a Christian focus and a folk orientation. This 45-minute CD is definitely country-influenced, but the performances are more folk than country; that is true on Campbell's own songs as well as inspired performances of Woody Guthrie's "Jesus Christ," Bobby Braddock's "Would They Love Him Down in Shreveport," and Kris Kristofferson's "They Killed Him." For the Living of These Days is not a heavily political release, and yet, some of the material does acknowledge the more liberal/progressive strains of Christianity. "They Killed Him," with Kristofferson's favorable reference to Hindu activist Mahatma Gandhi, is not exactly typical of the sentiments one associates with a Jerry Falwell sermon. Bottom line: For the Living of These Days is excellent as both a Christian album and a folk album.


Born: 31 October 1961 in New Orleans, LA

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The people and culture of the modern South serve as the inspiration for the songs of Nashville-based singer/songwriter Kate Campbell. The daughter of a Baptist preacher, Campbell uses her songs to chronicle the societal changes below the Mason-Dixon Line. Born in New Orleans, where her father was attending seminary school, Campbell spent her formative years in northern Mississippi and Nashville, TN. Campbell's greatest musical influence came from her mother, who sang and played blues and swing tunes...
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