Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Billy Burnette, Shawn Camp|
Bluegrass Elvises 1
Genres: Country, Pop, Rock
An inventively fun album of Elvis covers melding bluegrass and rockabilly by two of Nashville's hottest songwriters and pickers: Bluegrass/country singer Shawn Camp and rockabilly/country performer Billy Burnette, who s... more »
An inventively fun album of Elvis covers melding bluegrass and rockabilly by two of Nashville's hottest songwriters and pickers: Bluegrass/country singer Shawn Camp and rockabilly/country performer Billy Burnette, who spent nearly a decade with Fleetwood Mac and now tours frequently with John Fogerty. Shawn is yin to Billy's yang. And both men are steeped in the snaky soul of the Tennessee-Arkansas mythology of the `50s, born of the spirit of Elvis.
A Legend Remembered, Songs Reborn, Two Careers Enhanced
Jef Fazekas | Newport Beach, California United States | 12/30/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"THE BLUEGRASS ELVISES, VOL. 1 is a special release, important for a number of reasons. First, it reminds us of the talent the King of Rock & Roll (as well as those around him) had for picking songs that not only sounded great, but had classic potential. Second, it shows us just HOW classic these songs really are. Next, it's a wonderful showcase for the talents of both Billy Burnette and Shawn Camp. Finally, it's just plain fun! Aside from the classic nature of these tracks, one other thing that really jumps out at you is how well Burnette and Camp work together, beautifully complementing each other (Long a fan of Burnette's ~ if you asked me to name ten of my Most Underrated Artists, he'd be right at the top of the list! ~ I'd only known of Camp as a writing partner for Billy). Burnette's energetic rockabilly grooves are perfectly balanced by Camp's more subdued, classic country leanings. The disc opens with "2007:A Bluegrass Oddity", a short, but spirited, update of the 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY theme, then segues into an easy-going, relaxed version of "Don't Be Cruel." Camp's vocal has just the right amount of twang, while the instrumentation ~ particularly the banjo and mandolin! ~ is crisp and clean. Next up is Burnette with a spirited take on "All Shook Up." Billy's vocals are always top tier, but there seems to be an extra dash of joy in them here, as if he's really getting a kick out of covering a song that (so beautifully) returns him to his roots. Camp once again takes the lead on "Little Sister." With an arrangement that's quick paced and upbeat, and a vocal that's smooth and confidant, this cut has you tapping your toe just minutes into it (pitch perfect harmonies from Burnette only add to the magic). Burnette's vocal on "Jailhouse Rock" is brilliant, but it almost gets lost in the frantic arrangement. I really wish the guys had gone with more of a classic rockabilly groove; as good of musicians as these guys all are, it's almost too much of a good thing ~ sort of a harried bluegrass jam session! ~ and, as I said, Burnette's vocal (sadly) ends up taking a back seat. That back porch jam vibe surfaces once more on "Good Rockin' Tonight." Camp's vocal is up front and so, so fine, while Burnette's harmonies cushion the lead vocal like a velvet pillow. Add an arrangement that's economical, yet spritely, and you have one of the album's best cuts! The same could be said about "Burnin' Love." Everything comes together in perfect harmony on this track: Burnette's lead vocal is one of his best to date, while the arrangement is well thought out, yet at the same time surprisingly fresh and spontanious. The instruments each have their own moment to shine, but it's never forced or cliched. Sweet! Next we have the cut that most caught me off guard. "Are You Lonesome Tonight" has become somewhat of a joke over the years, due in large part to Elvis Pressley's rambling live versions of the mid-70's. However, Camp's version is absolutely lovely, restoring a delicate vulnerability that has been lost over the years. With a vocal that falls somewhere between Hank Williams, George Strait and Vince Gill, Camp caresses the lyrics ("Do the chairs in your parlor/Seem empty and bare/Do you gaze at your doorstep/And picture me there?") with genuine pain, heartache and remorse. However, it's the spoken bridge that Pressley so famously mangled that benefits the most....sincere and raw, Camp's take reminds us just what an amazing song this is.....and always has been. "Big Hunk O' Love" owes as much to Bonnie Raitt's recent version as it does to any other, and that's a good thing ~ there's a sassy edge to Burnette's vocal that's intoxicating. The players all keep pace with him, resulting in a sly, sexy stunner. Another album high point! Sadly, "Mystery Train" suffers from somewhat of an unoriginal arrangement ~ by this point on the album we've heard all this before on earlier tracks! ~ but Camp still manages to provide a powerful lead vocal. The same can be said about "That's Alright Mama"....Burnette's lead vocal is exhilarating, as are Camp's harmonies, but I wish they had gone with more of a standard three piece set-up; just straight guitar/bass/drums (with maybe a little sax!) would have been a nice change of pace, fleshing the album out with even more depth and variety. Things bounce back nicely with "Hound Dog." Much like "Are You Lonesome Tonight", this updated version bubbles over with an energy and spirit that can't help but remind you what a true gem this puppy (no pun intended!) is! Camp's vocal is killer, while the arrangement is one of the disc's best. My favorite cut off the album! Things wrap up with an equally strong "Blue Suede Shoes", a song Billy Burnette was born to sing! Featuring a blistering lead vocal and energetic instrumentation, if this track doesn't have you movin' and groovin' by song's end...well, check your pulse, cuz you may have kicked the bucket an hour or so ago! So...if you want a good time, pick up THE BLUEGRASS ELVISES, VOL 1....it's A) a great way to revisit some amazing classics, B) features Billy Burnette and Shawn Camp at the top of their games and C) is an excellent way to pass the time until Vol. 2 shows up! (As with all my reviews, I am docking the disc half a star for not including the lyrics...providing them here would have only helped to remind everyone just how strong and timeless these songs really are)."