Review: Libby DeCamp’s Cross Sections

Multi-instrumentalist folk singer Libby DeCamp (@LibbyDecamp) lays all her cards on the table with her 2016 debut solo EP Cross Sections. Not only displaying talent, DeCamp expressed full creative control in that she wrote all six songs herself. In an industry big on hip-hop, country, and Top 40 pop rock right now, DeCamp’s contribution stands out as it is a dialed back, slower paced record for a country drive or relaxation after a stressful day. Listeners will learn quickly DeCamp poured her heart and soul into the EP as well as notice the craftsmanship and authenticity.

The lead-off track ‘Elroy’ starts off with some amazing bluesy guitar work along with DeCamp’s seductive vocals. It is noticeable right away the Detroit singer-songwriter is inspired by Norah Jones and perhaps Jewel. Although the song sounds peaceful, as evidenced from the lyrics the tune is violent in nature as DeCamp sings, I spit out my teeth, now the blood in the sink is boiling back at me.

On ‘Black Suit Man’, DeCamp provides a song which fits right in with the 1920 and 1930s. It is arranged and performed in such a manner that if one closes their eyes, it will be like being transported back in time to that era hearing this on an old school radio or live at Radio City Music Hall.

Cross Sections’ third song ‘Old Witch’ is the record’s most modern sounding track, worthy of radio play on Alternative and Hot AC stations and will have people hitting the repeat button for sure. It is also tied with ‘Charlie’ for the shortest tune on the album. Speaking of which, ‘Charlie’ is a sad song about a man grieving over the loss of a loved one. The organ and accordion work brilliantly as listeners empathize with the man and try to picture the tragic scene.

‘Put the Kettle On’ slows the pace down a couple of notches and is notable for its drum work and, of course, DeCamp’s sultry voice. It would be right a home on the Soundtrack from George Clooney’s hit film ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’. It could work on modern Country stations as a single with some Patsy Cline influence heard within in. The fifth tune ‘Seattle’ is the EP’s longest and would fit a modern-day romantic drama’s soundtrack like a glove. DeCamp has written and performed songs that cross genres, but Cross Sections does not veer all over the place as she elected to travel in just a couple of lanes on the album.

DeCamp got the chance to perform in Ohio recently with Jack and The Bear and has a couple of shows in her native Michigan coming up this month in Detroit on January 12 and Ann Arbor exactly two weeks later. Starting this past November, physical copies of Cross Sections’ proceeds go toward Sacred Stone Camp which fights against the DAPL. Thus, the EP’s buyers can support two causes: clean drinking water for citizens and pure, unadulterated independent music. DeCamp has created a CD gung-ho folk aficionados will want to add to their collection.

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With Album Release Upcoming, Cadence Blues Band Has Nothing to Cry About

The Cadence Blues Band (@TheCadenceBlues) may be a newcomer to the Columbus music scene, but their style and sound prove they have an old school mindset. There is already a buzz surrounding the trio as their EP The Seed officially drops next Friday, November 11 at a live show at The Shrunken Head. The young, psychedelic bluesy rockers have the talent to make a good run on the festival and dive scene, which means steady coin for years to come.

The EP starts off moody and haunting courtesy of the over five-minute piece titled ‘No Need’. This tune is a vehicle for vocalist Tony Gregorc to show off. It is the record’s ultimate campfire hippie anthem. This should be no surprise to its growing fan base as per the band’s Facebook profile, the group lists Hendrix and Zeppelin among their influences. One who pays attentions to the song’s lyrics will understand how relevant they were 50 years ago and now, especially with Election Day creeping up.

The pace picks up with track ‘So Damn Excited!’, a hybrid of blues meeting classic rock. If Q-FM 96 ever added this song into its rotation, it would fit into the playlist flawlessly. That stations’ avid listeners are people who thrived in the bar scene and Columbus needs to have throwbacks show millennials how it’s done.

‘Makenna’ is notable for drummer Ty Phillips-Bond’s on-point percussion, but of course he does a solid job from top to bottom on the album. Gregorc’s range gets put to the test on the track, despite this being The Seed’s shortest song. Taking the speed down a couple of notches is the song ‘(More Than) Just a Word’, which sounds like a sped-up ballad that people can move their bodies to.

Lastly, ‘How to Be a Rolling Stone’ is a genius mashup that demonstrates a 1970s attitude with 1990s arrangement. The song is so brilliant, it would be deemed a hit in both distinct decades. Gregorc and bassist Steve Simeon’s vocals are sheer perfection on the album’s final track.

When The Cadence Blues Band takes the stage in one week’s time, if the audience close their eyes and open their minds they will think they are back at the original (and best) Woodstock. They will be joined by solid opening acts Mystic Mamba and Punchdrunk Tagalongs. Per the group’s Twitter bio, Cadence describe themselves as, “A high energy, groove inducing, retro style blues-rock trio formed in Columbus, OH that creates soulful songs with a message, and performs them with feeling!” It is crystal clear The Seed captured this and a whole lot more, but that the live show will be even groovier.

Review of Mount Carmel, Nick Tolford & Company, Bummers, and Mama at Woodland’s Tavern – Columbus, OH (3/28/14)

This past Friday night, a splendid four hours of jams were produced by four brilliant local music acts. They all brought a little something different to the table and wholeheartedly delivered sets people not in attendance will regret not witnessing.  After each performance, it is safe to say that the central Ohio music scene is back on track and should be in good hands for years to come.

 

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The quartet named Mama was first up and played to a dozen plus early birds, but laid it all on the stage like they were performing in front of thousands at the original Woodstock. The group might have a modern look, but their sound is totally vintage and it was performed flawlessly. Their female drummer banged that kit like crazy and one could tell she was totally feeling the vibe of her bandmates.  The lead singer, whose mustache gave off a Freddie Mercury look, had a voice reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix. Although the band did not have a record for sale at the gig, had there been one can surely bet that word of mouth would have driven sales of said record. Once a CD from this four-piece is available, not getting an earshot of it is a dire mistake.

 

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Psychedelic surfer rockers Bummers (@bummersmusic) were second on the bill and the fashionably late Woodlands crowd started to file in anticipating an energetic set from this four-man act. This group of fun-loving jammers are coming off performances at SXSW where they were certain to entertain and turn some heads.  They certainly did their share of head turning of the crowd and then some.  The group implied although their album is complete, it will be some time before the masses can get an earful of it.  Bummers are very smart in allowing a delayed gratification for their fans to help generate and maintain the buzz surrounding their music. Once the record is out later this year, it is sure to be a local bestseller. If they rocked Austin the way the rocked Woodlands, there is little doubt a label deal is imminent.

 

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Sextet Nick Tolford & Co. (@TolfordAndCo) were up next on the list and their sound was reminiscent of critically acclaimed Josh Dodes and Fitz & The Tantrums. Honestly, Tolford was more over with the crowd than the headliner, as evident of his constant interaction with them. Everyone on stage seemed to have a great time putting on a performance for the audience and were handsomely rewarded for it.  Tolford’s backup singers were fantabulous in their style as well as with their pipes. It was great seeing Leslie Jankowski, ex-frontwoman of Frostiva and Behind You With Knives, back on stage.  She seemed genuinely happy to entertain again and here is hoping that although she keeps working with this band, perhaps she will strap on a guitar one more time as leader of her own group.

 

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The band everyone came to see, Mount Carmel (@mountcarmelswag), was fascinating from beginning to end of their set. Most of the material came from the trio’s new record, Get Pure, which was released that evening. The Brothers Reed and James McCain brought everything and the kitchen sink to their performance. They are described as a throwback to power rock with a blues influence.  After checking out some of their tracks from years gone by, Mount Carmel’s lead singer brought some heavier sounding vocals that heard on prior tracks.  Purchasers of Get Pure should expect a bluesy metal approach on this CD that is more fist pounding than previously released material.

This was a solid gig from the get-go and was totally worth the hype. It was probably the best $10.00 well spent at a local show in a long, long time.  Those who could not be in attendance ought to take some time to seek these artists out online for booking information, tracks, as well as upcoming events.  It is a show that may have caused a case of Tinnitus, but the experience was definitely one to be had.