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Table for One

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Album Review

On Table for One, Jim Campilongo forgoes the more overt country touches found on the instrumental only recordings done with his band the Ten Gallon Cats and focuses on the low-key, jazz tinged numbers in which the band would occasionally indulge. Songs like "Ewaltz" and "The Grass Is Greener" reflect more the influence of Bill Frissell than Jimmy Bryant. This is due both to Campilongo's own spacious arrangements and subtle guitar work as well as the absence of the fine pedal steel playing of Cats' regular Joe Goldmark — he's featured here only on "D'Boat." Amidst the low key surroundings, though, Campilongo still manages to run the gamut stylistically without making the album sound like a careless pastiche. On "The Grass Is Greener" his playing organically shifts from atmospheric country chords to a solo that seamlessly alternates between tough blues licks and fluid jazz notes. Throughout the album Campilongo gets great support from bassist and Cats' member Chris Kee as well as new drummer Jason Lewis and accordion player and keyboardist Rob Burger from Oranj Symphonette and Tin Hat Trio fame. Burger in particular contributes fine solos including his Jimmy Smith-inspired, Hammond B3 work on "Feisty's Ride" and a cabaret style accordion exploration on "Strange Face." With the thoughtful title track and a smoldering version of Billy Sherrill's "Too Far Gone" rounding out the set, Table for One ends up being a fine showcase of not only Campilongo's considerable writing talents, but his accomplished, multidimensional guitar playing as well.


Genre: Country

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Jim Campilongo was born and raised in San Francisco and began playing guitar in the mid-'70s, buying his first guitar with Green Stamps. His first teacher exposed him to a wide variety of music, but it was hearing Roy Buchanan that convinced him to make a living as a guitarist. By the early '90s, Campilongo was taking guitar students, in addition to playing with a variety of groups in a variety of styles. In 1990, one of those students gave him a 1959 Telecaster in exchange for some bass lessons...
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Table for One, Jim Campilongo
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