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Shawn Camp

Fireball

Nothing I knew about Shawn Camp prepared me for the amped-up twanging hillbilly rock that came blaring out of my speakers when I punched "play" on Fireball, although the photo of him with a red Tele on the cover should've been a tip-off. This collection of co-writes with a checklist of Nashville heavyweights (Billy Burnette, Paul Kennerly, Mark D. Sanders) and some of the stoutest pickers in town is as roadhouse as it gets. "Tulsa Sounds Like Trouble to Me" could have been swiped from the catalogs of Harlan Howard or Billy Joe Shaver: "I ain't attached to what I got / but I'm sure likin' what I see / I'll follow you to Little Rock / but Tulsa sounds like trouble to me."

Camp's bluegrass leanings come leaking through on songs like "Love Crazy" and "Would You Go with Me," but there's still plenty of rhythm and amperage, and the plunky "Way It Is" sounds like a lost Wilburn Brothers track, made all the better by the vintage steel licks of maestro Al Perkins. "Waiting for the Day to Break" has a Johnny Horton "Rock Island Line" sound to match the Johnny Cash attitude. In sum, Fireball sounds like one of those twang heavy cassettes long-haul truckers select from rotating carousels next to truck-stop cash registers, the kind of thing that can keep you driving all night.

 
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