Ted Russell Kamp has traveled the world as the bassist in Shooter Jennings' band, but he delivers his own brand of outlaw country on his solo work. His latest effort, Get Back to the Land, reveals Kamp as a master of traditional hard country with his main guideposts being California country and Southern country-soul. He kicks off the disc with a terrific pair of guitar-fueled country-rockers. The ruggedly well-crafted "California Wildflower" recalls Rodney Crowell and Jim Lauderdale with an added dose of grit, while the peppy honky tonker "If I Had a Dollar" offers Kamp's version of the Bakersfield sound. He continues in a California country vein later in the disc on the galloping title track and the tears-in-your-beer track "Lonelytown." On "Half Hearted," Kamp sounds a bit like John Mellencamp venturing into Bakersfield territory. Midway through the disc, he ventures away from Bakersfield and heads to Southern Americana. The tough and funky "God's Little Acre" lets him stretch out his muscular guitar playing. Horns nicely color the life-on-the-road ballad "(Down at The) 7th Heaven" and "Georgia Blue," favorably conjuring up memories of classic Stax/Muscle Shoals soul. Lively horns, supported by a rootsy Wurlitzer, come out in full force in "Aces & Eights," which suggests Little Feat stepping out in New Orleans. Kamp seems comfortable with whatever style he takes on here. Even the somewhat generic ballad "Right as Rain" has a nice feel to it. He deserves a lot of credit for so successfully constructing an album brimming with wonderfully soulful country-rock; he wrote or co-wrote all of the songs and produced the disc, as well as playing guitars, bass, keyboards, and even trumpet. He also has gotten contributions from a number of talented pals, including guitar aces Kenny Vaughn (Marty Stuart) and Tony Gilkyson (X), pedal steel whiz Eric Heywood (Son Volt), and multi-instrumentalist Brian Whelan (Broken West). Having created such a timeless-sounding album as Get Back to the Land, the time might have come for Kamp to spend his nights fronting his own band playing his own songs, rather than as someone else's sideman.
AllMusic Review by Michael Berick