Howie & Debbie Campbell are certainly Wayfarin Strangers, playing venues all over America since 2003. This album presents them in a folk/rock setting with their friends in New York and Virginia joining in the fun.
All of the songs are Howie's originals except for Wayfarin Stranger, a ramped up version of a traditional spiritual.
Computer Baby is a solo acoustic number about Debbie's return to school for computer courses. Tongue-in-cheek humor is smile worthy for all you computer folks.
Sounds Like Eddie was written with Eddie Kirkland in mind. Eddie's driving groove inspired the opening riff, which recurs throughout the jam. Howie opens up on the electric guitar with Derrick and T.C. keeping it solid rhythmically. Tony comes in with that gorgeous B3 sound, and a very tasteful solo, too. Highway Boogie is the other instrumental with a blues inspired groove. Both of these are favorites at jam sessions.
The infectious rhythms of Good News and Goin Up To Heaven bring in a soulful feel. T.C. and Derrick lock it in while Howie's acoustic on Good News and Jim's sax on Goin Up To Heaven raise the excitement level. It's cool the way the ladies finish Good News with a fade line reminiscent of Black Gospel.
Rest For the Weary and He Has A Great Name bring to mind 70s Southern Rock in the Dicky Betts/Allman Brothers tradition. Soaring lead guitar and singable melody, a great story line and wonderful harmonies create that down home rock feel. Add Tony's B3 and you could almost imagine Greg and Duane and Dicky in the early days.
Elijah Key wraps up the album. It's a jazz flavored series of cleverly worded story verses. Biery's solid rhythm harmonica style, John's impeccable beat paired with Robby's driving bass give this acoustic driven song serious momentum. See how many of the stories you recognize.
Elijah Key was recorded at Robby Meadows' Alive Studios in Harrisonburg, VA. Robby has been in the recording industry for years, with many credits to his name including Jimmy Fortune's first solo CD. He was a pleasure to work with. Joining Howie on harmonica is a long-time friend and playing partner Biery Davis. Robby Meadows added bass and brought in his friend Johnathan Presnell on drums. Debbie Nicholson had gigged with Howie in the area and she was gracious enough to lend her exquisite vocals to the song. All professionals involved in music for quite some time, this song came off expertly produced and was placed as the cap to the album.
All the rest of Wayfarin Strangers Amped was begun at Kevin Ramsey's LJK Studio in Bumpass, VA. Kevin has a very laid back atmosphere, and he and Howie have collaborated on many projects before. Derrick Johnson drove down from NY to join Howie in the studio. T.C. Howard from Charlottesville, VA on bass rounded out the trio. Together they took a weekend to lay down the basic tracks. Derrick has played live with Howie many times and T..C. is a long time professional on bass. It didn't take long to lay the foundation. Jim Wingo came into LJK on another project Howie was producing, adding flute and sax. Jim's flute and alto sax definitely added a wonderful dimension. From there, Howie recorded in various locations as he traveled across country beginning with vocals by Jen Skriloff, Kim Briehl and Elizabeth Claeys, in VA; then adding electric guitar parts in OK and finally ending up in Saratoga, NY at Tony's Shack Studio. Tony Perrino helped dial in the mix. At one point Tony and Howie looked at each other with the same thought: this is custom made for a Hammond B3. Tony has played with many fine musicians through the years, such as Dan Toler, Blue Oyster Cult, and many others. His artistic expertise on the B3 was the perfect addition. Tony easily added a dynamic to the project that seemed to bring it all together.
The last stop on the journey was Silvertone Mastering. Tony suggested calling Larry DeVivo, a close friend also in Saratoga, NY. Larry has been involved in the industry for many years, from California in the early days of mastering, to Nashvlle, and finally back home to NY. A consummate professional, Larry had recently completed a project for Tony Levin which was very well received in music circles. He certainly put that finishing touch on the Wayfarin Strangers Amped.
Produced by Howie Campbell and Tony Perrino.
Wisdom and Truth Music, LLC publisher.