Advance Review and Artist Spotlight - CAAMP
(Photo Credit - Hannah Edelman)
We had the opportunity to get early access to CAAMP's new album By and By and also conduct an Artist Spotlight interview with the band! CAAMP originally started in Athens, OH and have blown up to a bigger stage with their unique mix of folk and alt. Check out our review of By and By and our interview with the group below!
Advance Review - CAAMP - By and By
CAAMP's new release By and By has a distinct warmness to it. It reminds me of summers in the woods in Southeast, Ohio. Of campfires and just being out there, in it. It just so happens CAAMP hails from the Southeast, Ohio. Their blend of folk and alt is unique in that it feels rooted in history and the culture of Appalachia. This is especially highlighted by the group's use of banjo throughout the album. However, it's not just that they use banjo, it's the manner in which they use it to accent melody that evokes of older Appalachian music.
The unique sound that CAAMP has cultivated is complemented by Taylor Meier's vocals. Meier's vocals have a distinct smokey feel to them that isn't gritty. On the contrary, they're smooth as silk and Meier and harmony vocalist Evan Westfall even unite beautifully on falsetto harmonies. The closest comp I can come to Meier's vocals in modern music would be Ray LaMontagne, and that's not a comp I make lightly.
The album as a collective moves quite well between slow tracks, acoustic tracks, and tracks with electric leads. Never at any point do any of these feel out of place from what came before it. It moves naturally in that way with each song taking it's rightful place right after the other. This is is a crafted collection of songs with a story to tell.
Songs We'd Recommend - "Keep the Blues Away", "Wolf Song", "Huckleberry Love", and "By and By"
Closing Thoughts - As an unabashed fan of all things alt-country, folk, and Americana, I absolutely adored this album. I also felt a certain kinship to CAAMP's music given we're from the same area, it spoke so clearly to me. However, you don't need to be from Southeast Ohio to feel a connection to this album, you just need to be a human. You can clearly see this was an album made by three men where they poured their blood, sweat, and tears...It shows.
Rating - 5/5
1. How did you come to pursue music and how long have you been at it?
"It really started out with Taylor and I (Evan) becoming friends in high school and they started playing music. I had just started playing guitar and Taylor had a great voice, we started playing together doing covers and writing original music together in 2010. We would go see shows together in Columbus, Ohio. Taylor went to Ohio University in Athens for college and I stayed in Columbus. Finally I moved down to Athens and we wrote the album together."
2. Could you walk us through your process of writing music?
"There's no formula, a song can come from anywhere. In 2013 Taylor brought me his ideas for songs (before Evan even learned banjo). I learned banjo after this. Taylor will start the lyrics and progression and would bring idea to me and we'd arrange it together. Sometimes I would have a line on guitar that I'd take to Taylor. That was how the first album went. Taylor found his voice and his style. He writes all the lyrics now, I pretty much adds his flavor and banjo melodies."
3. What artists have inspired you in your career?
"Tom Petty, his songs, melodies, and voice. The Clash and The Ramones were also influential. Taylor has been into more of Ray LaMontagne and The Head and the Heart. I have been more into the melody and Taylor has always been more into the words, that's why it works so well."
4. Do you have any favorite music gear (guitars, amps, effects pedals, keyboards, etc.) that you love to use? If so, what’s the story on them?
"Not really, we are into vintage gear but we keep it at home and record with. On tour we take stuff we can bang up and it not be a problem. I loves Silvertone amps and guitar, that whole brand is pretty cool."
5. Can you describe the vibe at your live shows? Also, what do you enjoy most about a venue when you do a show?
"We started in Athens, played in house shows, drinking beers on stage. People would throw stuff at us. We try to bring the house show energy to every show we play. Keep it fun, interact with the people in the crowd. We're open to requests when people shout them out."
"I have always been into the up close and personal venues. I feel the sweaty rock venues where you are close are best. The shows where you are separated looking down on people and feel like a zoo creature feels a little detached. It doesn't feel as real as the smaller shows. But I feel very fortunate that people are wanting to come and see us play."
6. What is one thing that you want the public to know about your music?
"We care so much about our music and the overall product. We're super honest about it and we go about it in an honest way. We're all best friends and we tell stories, it's super honest real music. The world needs more of that. Not the overproduced people going for radio hits. We care about every little detail that goes into."
7. Tell us about the writing and recording process of your new album By & By?
"We wanted to include some raw folky songs mixed with the rock and roll that we make and write. We thought a good idea was to bring back some of the early CAAMP songs we wrote before the first album. There were a couple of songs where all three of us were in the same room and wrote and arranged together. Sometimes Taylor would write something and would bring it to us to add our pieces. It's a nice mix of everything. Matt Vincent (bass) brought so much to the table, this was his first album with us. He's an engineer and thinks completely differently than Taylor and I do. It brought a completely different spin. He's great at coming up with cool little ideas for weird little things in the studio. It was great to have him in the studio having him help us bring something to life."