Kate Campbell’s latest album sounds like a collection of dusty memories from a half-century ago. Maybe it is. Campbell writes in the liner notes about how, as a little girl, she loved listening to her mother play “St. Louis Blues” on piano. These eleven originals and two traditional covers reflect that old-time ethos with a mix of rootsy arrangements and searing lyrics that have more to do with lamentations than blues. Campbell has a way with throwback tunes: The stark “Shallow Grave” could have come straight from an Appalachian holler circa 1930, and “Freedom Train” borrows biblical imagery for a song that would have fit the ’60s civil rights struggle. It’s not all lean times and watery grits, though. She takes up a different cause with “Free World” and “Peace Comes Stealing Slow”, songs with a levelheaded anti-war bent clearly based on the current political climate.
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