John Campbelljohn – Chin Up | Album Review

johncambelljohncdJohn Campbelljohn – Chin Up

Nood Records

12 songs time-43:30

Journeyman slide guitarist and singer-songwriter John Campbelljohn, a native of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, offers up a roots rock oriented guitar-lyric feast. He has played in the studio or live with the likes of Sting, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen and Willie Nelson among others. His vocals are serviceable , but the focus here is on his guitar and lyrical prowess. He wrote or co-wrote everything included here and enlists a sure-fire crop of musicians to put forth his musical vision.

A foot-tapping inducing guitar boogie-woogie fueled by infectious lap-steel playing is the jumpy “The Mumble Boogie”, a tale of being berated by one’s better half. A light-hearted romp about possessing everything but one’s love is “I Got It All”. A nice combination of acoustic and electric slide guitar is employed on ones’ preparation to “Meet My Maker”.

“The Poor Man Pays” a little social commentary on the plight of the poor is a clever production that is wholly satisfying. A haunting female backing chorus sings some of the verses. You have to hear this for yourself to truly appreciate the atmospherics this conjures up. Percolating guitars fire up “Castaway” in a seamless brew. “Attitude” can best be described as being nicely noisy as guitars churn it up. This is where the genius slide work of Sonny Landreth comes to mind.

Saying dumb stuff to the little woman is the topic of the light observations of “How Stupid Is That” as Robert Campbell’s piano compliments the tasty Dobro slide playing. “Stop Making Excuses” is a lesson in Roots Rock 101. The tough rocker “Sally In The Alley” shows off John’s vocals at their best. “Fantastico Supremo” sounds like Sonny Landreth at his best backing up tongue-in-cheek lyrics sprinkled with Italian phrases. This is probably the CDs high point for me, I just can’t get enough of this crazy song.

What’s a feel good record without a it’s so good to be alive song, here we are rewarded with “Good Morning Mr. Blue Sky”. How’s about a little melancholy finish in “She’s Gone My “Little Love Song”” to balance things out.

Exuberance, energy and creativity make this a sure winner in the guitar-based singer-songwriter sweepstakes. If you don’t find this nifty little thing repeatedly jumping back into your CD player then you are living wrong.

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