CD: Time for a Change
Quote: "You might call him a thinking man's folk artist".
By Les Reynolds from Indie-music.com
Bruce Campbell (officially Bruce T.) has released a CD of poetry which he says rides on guitar music.
He's right. But it's more than that.
Arizona-based and California-born, Bruce, 50, has worked out an appropriately named 10-song CD called "Time for a Change." It's folksy and down-to-earth. Clever without being cute. And it beckons you to not only listen, but to hear.
Bruce has a clear voice, sometimes quite country sounding and at other times intimating early Bob Dylan as he enunciates hard "r's", emphasizes the "wrong" syllable and draws out his words and phrases. He's much less abstract than Dylan, though. Much less.
His guitar, which he began learning to play at age 12, sounds like a comfortable friend with a nice mix of finger style and strumming. Vocals and guitar don't conflict, they complement.
Bruce's lyrics, all originals, reflect his descriptive and poetic observations of life in general, and, from the information in his bio sheet, also some of his own. You might call him a thinking man's folk artist. In fact, even the very simple song treatments are sometimes quite clever. For instance, the opening title track begins to break up it's standard, flowing rhythm pattern near the end of the song -- he must've thought it was "time for a change," perhaps.
"We Never Die," seems to be an optimistic social commentary: "...Now they're layin' off people from the iron jobs -- now we gotta train them how to program chips. Smell of war's comin' from the Holy Land. They're lowerin' the taxes, just read my lips. It's gonna be all right, baby. You're wastin' your time if you cry. There's a light that's brighter than all this. Truly we never die..."
The easy and peaceful "Yang/Yin" (titled the opposite of how those two words are generally ordered -- a clue to the content) is another tune that shows how the crafty wordsmith can construct a theme.
"Monsoon Season," a flowing tune, is a song that shows Bruce's storytelling ability with vivid imagery. "This New Age Music blowin' up from the South. She wonders if he's still alive and where the hell he went. She's lying on her back, aware of her mouth... and the wind sails hot in the night. Her ears taste sunrise six hours away. The bedroom's dark but for the lightning in her hands. A coyote's plaintive cry holds her tears at bay. The clock keeps ticking with the flow of hour-glass sands. And the wind blows hot in the night..."
Following that tune is "Woke up this Mornin'" --
a philosophical and optimistic take on (what seems to be) his own life -- which by his own account (in his bio sheet) has been both interesting (highly educated, racing cars, licensed pilot and Mercedes-Benz executive) and tough (diabetes complications resulting in loss of a lot of sight, nerve damage in fingertips and also partial leg paralysis). He seems to celebrate the very fact he's alive as he emphasizes the title when he says it. "Woke up this mornin'', strangely enough. Thought I was finished, but I guess I'm tough. These so-called doctors, they all love to say, ''Bruce, yer a goner; you won't live another day.'' Well I've got news for them and it's in this song. Life is forever, their estimates are wrong. The universe goes on, it's bigger than you think... I woke UP this mornin''!"
And even in the final song ("My Only Fate," Bruce sings ..."I'm growin' stronger as I hike this trail... as I know I cannot fail.... as I drink my cup..."
Bruce sings and writes as if he means it and knows it.