Shawn Camp - Shawn Camp

Originally released in 1993, newcomer Shawn Camp experienced marginal success as this album garnered two Top 40 singles in "Fallin' Never Felt So Good" and "Confessin' My Love." With 1994 getting issued, fans can get this one too.

Shawn Camp is led off by "Fallin' Never Felt So Good." With a reverberant, almost rockabilly production, it sounds much like a lost Marty Stuart cut from the Hillbilly Rock sessions. "Confessin' My Love" is a similarly delightful listen, with a midtempo groove and a simple yet effective lyric about, well, confessing his love; that backing vocal from Shelby Lynne doesn't hurt either. Both of these songs were fine choices as singles, as they're radio friendly yet full of personality. 

"Man, What a Woman" (which he co-wrote with Roger Miller's son, Dean Miller) was the album's third single, reaching the lower regions of the now-defunct RPM charts in Canada but not touching the charts here. It's another fast-paced bluegrass number complete with an upright bass, and another lyric about how there's "no way to say what my heart understands / Man, what a woman." At times, Camp's phrasing recalls a slightly lower Ricky Skaggs on this number. Bluegrass influences also give "K-I-S-S-I-N-G" some punch, but its chorus (which consists almost entirely of "oohs" and the title) fails to pay off after some cute verses. "Bound to Cry" also sounds like Marty Stuart meets Dwight Yoakam, taking the former's rocking neo-trad influences and the latter's affinity for heartbreak songs. 

Inverted phrasing is always a quick way to a good hook, and "Speakin' of the Angel" is a great example of that. What could've been just a cute one-off is instead a tale of a lost love who's now with another man. "I'm Not Just Passing Through" is the only outside cut, and another strong illustration of Camp's more hardcore traditional leanings. If not for the presence of Jeff Stevens' name, you might think this to be a lost cut from some 1960s artist and not a product of the 1990s. "Turn Loose of My Pride," despite its unwieldy hook, is another well-done old-school ballad, replete with string section. 

A strong, Travis Tritt-esque guitar lick drives another rather tuneful heartbreak song, "One of Them Days." Although its illustration of a bad day without his lover might seem fairly stock, details "drinkin' my coffee with the local DJ" and "TV dinner, channel 8" should easily keep anyone's cliché meters from setting off. Closer "A Little Bit of Love" ("…goes a long, long way," of course) offers insight into, you guessed it, love. Truly, it's good to know that your baby's always there, especially if you can express your love this tunefully. 

Dedicated country music fans might have seen some of these song titles. "Fallin' Never Felt So Good" was Camp's first cut as a songwriter, appearing on Dude Mowrey's 1991 debut. Mark Chesnutt led off Lost in the Feeling with his renditions of "Fallin'" and "Confessin' My Love," and took his version of the former to #52 in 2000. Also, Rhett Akins covered "K-I-S-S-I-N-G" on the album Somebody New

Back in 1993, new artists had to fight for airplay among countless hitmakers, including such heavy hitters as Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn and even solid second-tier acts like Joe Diffie, Aaron Tippin, Clay Walker, Travis Tritt and Collin Raye. Camp had all of the goods: above-average tunes, above-average voice (though a bit thin at times), and multi-instrumental skill (he plays guitar, fiddle and Dobro on the album). He even came up with a solid batch of songs, and went with the best two as the first singles. Shawn Camp may not produce any singles in 2010's musical climate, but at least the release of it and 1994 will bring his name back into the spotlight and allow a few fans to find some treasures they missed out on the first time.

You can support Shawn Camp by purchasing this album at Amazon | iTunes.

If you prefer your music more than ones and zeroes you can purchase the CD at Amazon.