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Jim Campilongo and the 10 Gallon Cats

Jim Campilongo

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Album Review

Guitarist Jim Campilongo's debut is a smart and highly original homage to the country-jazz instrumental work of Speedy West, Jimmy Bryant, and Chet Atkins, not to mention the blues that informs many of the best country numbers. With the help of his band the 10 Gallon Cats, Campilongo explores a variety of styles from Western swing and swamp blues to spacious mood pieces. Taking West and Bryant's fast, cartoon country-style '60s work as a starting point, Campilongo and pedal-steel player Joe Goldmark utilize a wide variety of sonic effects and tempos to forge their own distinct country-jazz sound on "Splitsville," "Big Bill," and "Blue Hen." The band (also featuring bassist Chris Kee and drummer Ken Owen) provides a nice break from these country swingers with reverb-heavy blues numbers like "Bully Cat" and "Snakestretcher." Campilongo also uses "Snakestretcher" to showcase the kind of winning contrasts that would crop up more in future compositions; here, straight blues picking gives way to an elegiac descending-line duet by Campilongo and Goldmark. More of the same is evident on "Night in Serramonte" as a tropical waltz evolves into a strolling, noir-like theme with Goldmark playing high, singing notes over Campilongo's dark guitar chords. Hopefully, Campilongo's cinematic tendencies will find their way onto a future soundtrack. For now, Jim Campilongo & the 10 Gallon Cats is evidence enough of not only Campilongo's considerable writing talents, but also the 10 Gallon Cats' accomplished playing.

Customer Reviews

Jim is awesome!

It's amazing what this man can do with a Tele! If you love Teles, you need this album...


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...
Full Bio
Jim Campilongo and the 10 Gallon Cats, Jim Campilongo
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