Jeff Campbell: Stop and Go
Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins
Stop and Go was supposed to be an acoustic EP that seemed to take on a life of its own; eleven tracks made the cut for this full length album. Stripped down to bare essentials and leaving nothing for Jeff to hide behind, his talent is exposed. His voice is gentle and smooth but commands attention as well, the lyrics honest and real.
This album contains several great songs, including “It Stopped Raining,” an optimistic song pointing out that the bad times are only temporary, “Drive,” a cover of the Cars’ song from the 80’s that seems to be written for Jeff’s voice, and while he doesn’t necessarily one up the classic, he doesn’t do any damage, either, and “Laundry Day” that features an intensity in the guitars that doesn’t appear anywhere else on the album. The instruments and the back-ground vocals, especially on the latter half of the record, flesh out the songs, adding a little more depth and variety to the acoustic guitars. I was never bored while and listened, always surprised by the little touches that make this a well thought out and beautifully produced album.
My absolute favorite track, though, was “Do I Get A Moment.” Caught off guard by a painful truth, the lyrics beg for some clarity in the middle of chaos, of life unraveling. Realizing that the end results depend on him, he’s grasping to hold onto something, even if it’s just a little integrity, even if only for a second, by responding how he should rather than how his emotions are tempting him to. “Do I get a moment to collect all my thinking before I go off and ruin everything?” Brilliantly written and delivered even better, this song takes me to the meat of a moment, and I loved being allowed in.
The album begins with “Shut Your Mouth” and contains the lyrics, “All this is is your new thing done in an old way.” I thought it was interesting that he should say this on an acoustic album; going to the roots of music where so few tread when he has a full time gig as a singer of the band Pine and Battery. However, while it may be great exposure for Jeff and his band, this album is so much more than a gimmick to gather new fans. It’s more like a little insight and full exposure of a singer/songwriter’s talent. I remember being told once that if a musician couldn’t do a song justice without flash and electricity, he had no musical talent to offer. Stop and Go proves Jeff Campbell has more than enough.
Please visit www.jeffcampbellmusic.com for more information. The album will be released January 2012.