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Album Review

Sacred steel has found its way into the consciousness of the music-listening public over the last few years, bringing the music of the House of God services to the masses. The real center of the genre lies in and around Rochester, NY, with the church of Charles Campbell being one of the focal points. Here, the children (and grandchildren) of the venerable Campbell elder pump out a series of pieces from in and out of the church. The idea in sacred steel is to make use of the wailing and moaning of steels to bridge the gap between blues and gospel in essence, with tinges of R&B, etc., thrown in for good measure. The brothers deliver on that goal quite well. The gamut from traditional songs ("Amazing Grace") to the works of Pops Staples and Sam Cooke is run ably, with the three front-line brothers putting together a volley technique of guitar playing that would make Lynyrd Skynyrd proud. The playing is quite good here, and — perhaps more notably — the recording quality is excellent, as opposed to many of the other sacred steel albums on the market. For new fans of sacred steel, this one's a sure pick. For those just looking into the genre, some of the compilations on Arhoolie may be better overviews.

Biography

Genre: Christian & Gospel

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The four Campbell brothers—Chuck on pedal steel, Phillip on electric guitar and bass, Carlton (Phillip's son) on drums, and Darick on lap eight-string steel—play electric gospel music for the House of God, Keith Dominion church. Emphasizing the steel guitar, the group stick to a repertoire that avoids rock and blues, but nonetheless betrays the influences of those forms in their arrangements, which also draw from country, jazz, and other forms. Although their selection of material is...
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Can You Feel It?, The Campbell Brothers
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