Artist: Ruu Campbell
Title Of Album: Heartsong
Year Of Release: 2014
Label: Rohen Tree
Genre: Indie Folk
Quality: 320 Kbps
Total Time: 31:39 min
Total Size: 80 MB
02. Soul And Solace
03. Invisible Man
04. Believe In Me
06. There Is A Place
07. The Call
08. Love Guide Me Home
09. Magic Tree
Heartsong is a true reflection of Ruu Campbell’s comfortable sense of belonging. With the picturesque West Country as his home, the young guitarist has produced a canvas of his thoughts and feelings on his debut album. Infused with cellos, violins and hints of flute, it was no doubt influenced by his peaceful surroundings. Youth aside, he has an impressive background of musical acquaintances. At the age of 15 he signed to DreamWorks and has also worked along side trance outfit Younger Brother and The Cinematic Orchestra, with some of his songs featuring on NBC’s smash hit series ‘Parenthood’.
The album opens with ‘Caravan’, a slow introduction, his fingers rasping against the fret board. Hearing every stroke of the guitar, Campbell’s mellow vocals drift along side in almost a whisper. In a similar style to Nick Mulvey and Bon Iver, Campbell lets the simplistic structure take centre stage. The minimal pallet of instruments helps you to focus on each one as it compliments the other.
Campbell introduces percussion on ‘Invisible Man’. A soft beat backs his crisp strumming and he shows us his wide vocal range, reaching falsetto notes with ease. Up to now each song has stayed quite dark and subdued, but we are lifted with upbeat flute in ‘Believe In Me’, which wouldn’t feel out of place on a Disney soundtrack. His guitar takes a back seat here and the orchestral instruments drive the song, though the ending is sudden and it feels unfinished. It is the only song on the album that does this, although the songs are equally short in length.
‘Crossroads’ and ‘Magic Tree’ are the most folk driven tracks on the album. They both share simple melodies, though ‘Crossroads’ repetitively builds with layers of strumming and clicks. Focusing more on its haunting narrative, ‘Magic Tree’ bares resemblance to that of June Tabor’s ‘Scarecrow’, however Campbell sings in a much gentler way.
Having been described by Rough Trade as “a real life troubadour bringing campfire wisdom to the modern age”, Ruu Campbell’s Heartsong is a pleasant listen. He shows us a really mellow side to folk music using classical instruments to enhance his traditional guitar playing and vocals. However, there isn’t a particular song that stands out on the album and after a few listens, it all begins to merge into one.
With comparable references from Nick Drake to Nick Mulvey, Campbell has old and new artists to contend with. Heartsong has its place among them, but with so many great folk artists around, it is in no way out of the ordinary. It is well worth a listen, though you may find that it becomes more like background music than anything else.
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