CAAMP - By and By - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

CAAMP - By and By

by Bill Golembeski Rating:10 Release Date:2019-07-26
CAAMP - By and By
CAAMP - By and By

On The Band’s obscure song “4 % Pantomime” from the Cahoots album, Richard Manuel and Van Morrison sing, “Yeah you bet.” And that’s America: It’s a spin on a wheel.

This wonderous folk-rock album spins that wheel and gives us all a Reason to Believe.

And that’s an allusion to both Bruce Springsteen and Rod Stewart, both of whom sang those words and hover over the smoky gravel road vocals of Taylor Meier. Oh, and add a few more tumbleweeds with an alkali chaser to (the young) Alex Chilton’s Box Top “The Letter” soulful voice; that’s in here, too. The very first song, “Feels Like Home,” is a casual ghost of a tune. There’s a slow strum of a guitar. Yeah, this is Nebraska Springsteen stuff. This ghost (perhaps of Tom Joad) yearns for home, or time, or America, or, perhaps, a Reason to Believe. This is deep Americana Virgil Cane blood below my feet stuff. This voice vibrates in ragged slow waltz time. Then this deep prayer of a song suddenly erupts into a brisk handclap of a melody. This music sings both the sorrow and joy of America. It’s a tough and lovely truth.

There are so many great melodies. “Keep the Blues Away” does just that as it dances, as Mr Bojangles will always dance, against the trouble and tears of the world. This is a track with its train running wide open. “No Sleep” echoes the fun of Buddy Holly, with a folky-rock ‘n’ roll rollercoaster ride. “Peach Fuzz” continues the quick run with a chord progression not far from Lou Reed’s “Sweet Jane.” But this tune drinks its own booze, with swagger to spare. And the guitar solo rides on the sweet taste of a Hot Burrito Deluxe.

There are folky bits. “Wolf Song” is slow, persistent, and beautiful. Horns punctuate the tune. “Moonsmoke” is deep-voiced passion with an equally deep-voiced melody. The tune spins in its own slow-dance orbit. And “Huckleberry Love” jives with jukebox vibes.

Now, it must be said that Evan Westfall’s banjo is the melodic glue that simply pervades all the songs. It’s a bright phoenix against the darkness of our modern world. “Penny, Heads Up” is a prime example. The tune rides a lovely surf that is banjo buoyant. “Wunderbar” is folky with a banjo belly that’s simply a joy to hear, a joy that is elevated by the deep bass of new guy, Matt Vinson. The tune surfs with the best of American dreamy beach and folk dreams.

“On & On & On” is melodic pop-folk. There’s an undercurrent of Creedence Clearwater Revival in this music. John Fogerty told us all to “Keep on Choogin’.” That’s what this record does. It Keeps on Chooglin’. And that’s a very American thing to do.

The title cut, “By and By,” is a reflective On the Road tune with a smoky soulful vocal that is “looking back on my life.” The melody cruises with a folksinger’s strum over the landscape of the soul.

These guys just manage to sing a great tune. It’s a deep Hannibal, Missouri tune. It’s a Huck Finn tune. It’s a tune that should always thank Sacagawea. It’s a tough tune. It’s a sod house tune. These songs are planted in American soil.

And, then, thankfully, there’s a quiet ending. “Of Life and Love” is acoustic to a fault. The vocals confess like campfire smoke. They sing the dark wilderness night. They plead like a holy prayer, and then they harmonize with all the ghosts who sing casual songs into the dark (and suddenly resurgent) vinyl night, a night that spins under a sky that will always provide a North Star (or perhaps, a Big Star) that points to a pretty great rock ‘n’ roll record album.

This album proudly begs as America is wont to do, for a Reason to Believe. CAAMP’s website says, “Ohio boys make a beautiful noise.” I’ll just say, once again, (to quote Van Morrison and Richard Manuel), “Yeah, you bet.”

Great rock music will always say something like that.

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