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-  Label: 'POETRY OF THE MOMENT (www.tedrussellkamp.com)'
-  Genre: 'Alt/Country' -  Release Date: '25th November 2008'

Our Rating:
The supposed 'glamour' of the wandering troubadour is probably one of the most entrenched myths in the whole seedy rock'n'roll game. After all, for every TV set gleefully thrown out of the window of the Columbia Hotel and every LA poolside scene, there are hundreds of musicians booked in cheap motels or B&B's; many of them struggling to pay to hire a van, never mind haggling over groupies and lines of Coke. Or even the luxury of an audience, come to that.

Nomadic NYC native TED RUSSELL KAMP clearly understands the banalities of a life on the road. Although he has spent an inordinate amount of time travelling the American highways and byways, he has no illusions about the reality. Sure, 'Poor Man's Paradise' finds room for the saucy, N'Awlins-style boogie of 'Long Distance Man' where Ted adopts a familiar 'Back Door Man' persona (“I'm gonna keep you satisfied/ 'cos tomorrow I'll be gone”), but mostly the rootless folks peopling his songs of hard times for honest (wo)men have been repeatedly bitten by love, loss and circumstances way beyond them.

In one guise or another, Kamp has met most of 'em on his travels and the rootlessness of his own existence has ensured he's written most of the album's songs on his computer during after hours downtime from his regular evening job as bassist for Shooter Jennings. He's transferred some beautifully accurate pictures too, for wonderful songs like the title track's tale of “a wild rose that grows in between the railroad lines” and the haunting old-time 'Player Piano' – based around the recollections of an old bartender – are the very epitome of beautifully-poised, Americana-tinged heartbreak.

Elsewhere, though Ted recorded the album in LA with a crack group of players including drummer Don Heffington, guitarists Tony Gilkyson and Kenny Vaughan and pedal steel maestro Robbie Turner, the lure of the South is rarely far away. 'Never Gonna Do You Wrong', for example, recalls the punchy, Alabama-style soul Ray La Montagne has intermittently tapped into across the course of his three albums; the gorgeous 'Let Love Do The Rest' has a country-soul restraint that would do Spooner Oldham and Dan Penn proud and even the humorous, talkin' blues-style 'Ballad Of That Guy' is reminiscent of Texan heroes like Townes Van Zandt or Guy Clark at their most light-hearted.

Ultimately, though, Ted Russell Kamp is very much his own man, whether he's tackling cautionary, downhome affairs like 'Old Folks Blues' or branching out on diversions such as the splendid John Barry-meets-The-Band effort 'Let The Rain Fall Down'. Roots-rock is his starting point, but when he invests it with his own nomadic muse he's comfortable wandering all over the stylistic map. Last year's 'Divisadero' helped establish him with the critics, but 'Poor Man's Paradise' can only cement his growing reputation.
  author: Tim Peacock

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