Ah, be still my beating heart! If ever someone was to capture the gentle-giant ethos through music, this is it. The third album by husky baritone troubadour Grant Campbell offers a delicacy which manages to penetrate the most heavy hearted amongst us, and leave a mass of quivering wrecks in its wake.
When the opening track ‘Expecting Great Things’ picks you up and forces a sigh of comfort out of your welcoming lungs, you are carried along, completely enthralled with the gently plucked guitar strings, and never want to step off. There’s a warm familiarity with Campbell’s voice, which has rightly been compared to Bruce Springsteen at his most thoughtful, and a smile is raised as he recites, with every ounce of emotion, the painful lines of “I may have failed, but I have tried.”
The Glaswegian sticks to his formula throughout the record (plucking guitars, deep in thought vocals, hurt filled songs) and it produces superb results, allowing the songs to stand centre stage, raw and stripped bare, save the added twinkle or pluck of a glockenspiel. The production could warrant a Rick Rubin tag after his work with Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond, but once again this is one of Campbell’s self-produced wonders.
‘Holding Ground’ allows his voice to fully take over the song, and can only been seen performed in the corner of a folk-cum-blues bar in the darkest corner of the city as the gentle light casts a aggressive shadow against a martyr and a guitar, warming the room.
You can pick any song from this album, whether it be the slowly self-defeating morose of ‘Open For Change’, or the almost, dare I say it, upbeat (in tune at least as it depicts the end of a relationship) ‘Shooting Halos’, and you will feel completely moved, and get everything that you want music to give you.
Grant Campbell is an underground treasure, and it is vital that you grab this record and become almost at one with yourself again.
Words: Peter Clark