On Innes Campbell’s first album he took limited license with the genre of bluegrass music, moving tastefully through a range of musical styles. With this album, Innes has cut loose and taken the liberty to display what he does best. He plays guitar and writes in an eclectic mix of of music styles while maintaining some adherence to the structure and style of bluegrass music.
Innes Campbell is a monster. His guitar playing is beyond my ability to describe. His song writing is approaching the esoteric and the band of people he chooses to play with are well versed in his style, structure and musical direction. They are with him wherever he chooses to venture and have also contributed to the creative content of the album. The band members are Markus Karlsen on bass, Michael Patrick on mandolin and viola, George Jackson on fiddle and banjo and Innes Campbell on guitar.
The words and music are both light-hearted and complex. The album is a complex juxtaposition of guitar, mandolin, banjo and fiddle, while vocally delivering a variety of meaningful and sometimes satirical messages. There are no liner notes with this album so I found myself needing to talk to Innes to explore his mind in an attempt to interprut some of the lyrics. I am glad did because I was on a completely different planet with my first attempt at a review – almost abducted by aliens as it were.
Some of Innes’s lyrics are self explainatory and others are not. The first track on the album Say Something Nice poses the question of the true value of relationships when they are shallow and insincere. Simply saying what’s needed to score points and satisfy desires. Say something Nice, I’ll never remember it anyway…
The second track on the album, Lady Mondegreen, is a pearler. This requires some in depth explaination and once explained becomes a very clever piece of writing. The song explores the host of misinterpretations on popular songs sung with sometimes poor diction or difficult to understand lyrics. Some examples include the Bob Dylan’s famous protest song Blowing in The Wind where one could hear the words The ants are my friends, is blowing in the wind. Other phrases in the song include Australians let us all ring Joyce from that well know Australian ballad masquerading as an anthem.
The title of the song, Lady Mondegreen stems from a 17th century Scotish poem called The Bonny Earl of O’Moray, in which the last lines read: They have killed The Earl O’Moray and laid him on the green. Thus the misunderstanding creates a partner for the Earl and has her slain in the same moment. The term mondegreen has since become a generic term for a mis-heard song lyric.
The third track on the album is Lead Me Away. This is a delightful instrumental with an Old Time, almost Celtic feel, featuring fiddle, guitar and viola and is written by band member George Jackson.
You Belong Here, written by Michael Patrick is another well penned lyric, supported by a beautiful melody. This is one of the most beautiful songs on the album with a sweet melody and rich harmonies.
There are 5 other tracks on the album, all of with hold musical surprises collared together by this very talented band of Australian based musicians.
I commend this album to you and urge you buy it to support our local artists, not because they are local but because this is a great piece of work.