Sep 13, 2017
The first time I remember seeing Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams was at the Orpheum Theatre in Boston. They were backing up Levon Helm, and as I delved deeper into Helm’s music, I would find the Campbell was that band’s rudder. With Williams on acoustic guitar and vocals and Campbell’s sizzling guitar work and ability to switch to violin, mandolin, or whatever the song called for, Helm could go whatever direction he wanted. Campbell had done the same for Bob Dylan on tour for several years starting in the late 90s, but he hadn’t really explored a solo career, outside of the 2005 album Rooftop. Working with Williams in Helm’s band gave them both a platform to start singing for themselves.
This Friday, they release Contraband Love, the follow-up to their self-titled debut album from 2015. The songs on the new one deal with more serious subjects than the first, a consequence of a rough few years, watching friends suffer through death and addiction. For Campbell, it was a reminder of days long since past when he was struggling with similar issues. It’s a tribute to their strength as a couple and the depth of their love for each other that these songs are a catharsis rather than a lecture or a character study. Onstage, they are charming, teasing each other about lyrics and feeding off each other’s energy. They are much the same in conversation, and I’m thrilled to have them on the Podcast.
It’s a packed episode, because I also interviewed their opening act, Patrick Coman. I really enjoyed his set and decided to try to snag him before Campbell and Williams started. Coman is an independent musician based in Boston, and he also works as a DJ and producer at WUMB, a local Americana station. His new album, Tree of Life, is out February 18. You can help him give it a proper release by contributing to his PledgeMusic campaign.
And finally, to close out the podcast, a track from Sasheer Zamata’s new album, Pizza Mind. Pizza Mind is now available on vinyl from Comedy Dynamics. You can follow her on Twitter at @thesheertruth.