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Cover Art

Amy Campbell ( )

Letters Home
Battle Axe Folk ( )

Amy Campbell slams a car door, turns on the ignition, and beckons to us to join her, shotgun, on a voyage to self-discovery. Difficult to resist. Letters Home opens with “The Dollar”, about leaving a relationship explaining that “the spark and fire in [her] heart are burning a different colour than before”. It’s a classic tale of head vs heart: “Leaving you this morning felt like tearing out my heart”. But clearly, it had to be done. That sets the tone for the album. Not easy, but off we go.

Amy is a masterful lyricist, fully adept at using techniques and tools to create vivid imagery, crafty euphemisms and witty metaphors. Well on her way to becoming a quintessential Canadian songwriter, she could sit comfortably to dinner with the likes of Leonard Cohen or Joni Mitchell.  I quite enjoyed how she personifies inanimate objects, such as gasoline or her car radio, bringing them to life in unusual ways. On “Gasoline”, she implores, “Oh gasoline / Bring my sweet baby back to me”. Later she urges her radio to “please send my voice to my baby back home” and to Rye whisky, she pleads “fill up this hole inside of me”. 

The voyage takes us through “Ohio [which] bleeds into Kentucky”. As a Canadian songstress with immense merit, I was a little saddened that she chose to work in American imagery, rather than the long winding highways that connect our vast Canadian landscape from coast to coast. Then again, that stretch of road south of our Canadian border certainly does emphasize the long, lonely miles stretching between her and her home base.

Supported by a talented band, Amy’s voice lilts delicately with the occasional twang. But make no mistake, she’s no wilting violet. She’s a girl of action, pragmatically creating her own destiny. On “Bricks”, she sings “You can’t build a house without the bricks / Without the mortar, stones and sticks”, then says “I got you baby, I can do anything”. And we believe her! Letters Home is a beautiful disc full of hope and joy and a good dose of winding melancholy back roads. Thanks for letting us ride with you, Amy. The disc reveals that moving forward doesn’t mean forgetting one’s roots nor the important relationships along the way that shape us into the individuals that we become.

By Anne-Marie Brugger
Sep 17, 2012

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