PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

Ted Russell Kamp: Get Back to the Land

Country rockin' singer/songwriter stays steady at the wheel, but can't keep a girl on his latest album.


Ted Russell Kamp

Get Back to the Land

Label: PoMo/Dualtone
US Release Date: 2011-05-10
UK Release Date: 2011-01-31
Label website
Artist website
Amazon
iTunes

Don't let Ted Russell Kamp's Zappa-esque cookie duster fool you -- he's no avant-garde prankster. Rather, he's an earnest country-rock/rockin'-country singer-songwriter who knows his way around a good time, as he proves time and again on his latest record, Get Back to the Land.

Best known for his day job as Shooter Jennings' bassist in the 357s (Kamp penned the instant classic "Steady at the Wheel" on Jennings' first album), Kamp is far more of a traditionalist than his mercurial boss -- you won't find any of the rage and paranoia that fueled/marred Jennings' last album, Black Ribbons, on Get Back to the Land. Kamp's world is full of women loved and lost, dingy barrooms and nights spent on the road -- just the stuff his audience eats up. Kamp seems to prefer introspection, but to these ears, his strongest mode is when he's friendly and upbeat-sounding, even when he's really down in the gutter.

Among the rockin' highlights here include "If I Had a Dollar", which is textbook barroom -- a little Bakersfield twang, a lotta long-gone woman still on his mind. "God's Little Acre" and the bouncing title track will both invariably end up on a Jennings' set list. And obvious highlight "Aces and Eights" sounds like a sideways rewrite of Kamp's previous "Better Beofre You Were Bigtime" (off '07's Divisadero), with its bright horn section and keys, as well as its triumphant attitude ("You gotta walk tall no matter how small the stakes").

Meanwhile, a few smoldering bluesy numbers -- the cynical "Time Is a Joker" (with some axe assistance from Tony Gilkyson) and "Don't Look Down" -- suggest a new sonic avenue of exploration for Kamp. Kamp, who co-wrote every song and plays a half-dozen instruments (including trombone!) on the album is obviously operating at the peak of his powers on these tunes.

It's also no coincidence that this record is released by PoMo Records -- Poetry of the Moment. Kamp has a knack for capturing small details and understanding larger truths without getting florid: "The bottles on the table are just more warning signs", he sings on "Bottles on the Table"; and "Every city is Las Vegas, no matter what they say," the singer croons on "Get Back to the Land".

As mentioned above, though, Kamp seems to be feeling extra ballad-y on Get Back to the Land. He colors "(Down at the) 7th Heaven" with some mariachi horns, but stretches the tale of his road-wary narrator and a waitress over five minutes; and more girls leave on "Georgia Blue", "Right As Rain" and "Half-Hearted".

Poor ol' Ted. The funny thing is that Kamp realizes he's the one to blame for the dissolution of these relationships ("All I have left is the half that makes mistakes", goes "Half-Hearted") and he's not afraid to say so. At least recognizing there's a problem means that one is not too far gone. Even with the navel gazing that slows the momentum on Side B, Get Back to the Land is a true, honest, heartfelt, more-rollicking-than-not offering from a musician who doesn't know any other way to be.

7

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.

Film

15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.

Music

Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.

Music

Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.

Music

Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.

Music

Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.

Music

Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.

Film

The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.

Music

British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.

Film

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.

Music

​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.

Music

The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.

Music

Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.

Television

How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.

Music

Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.

Music

CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.

Music

Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.

Music

While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.