Shawn Camp

Lucky Silver Dollar

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Shawn Camp's career as a country singer was derailed in 1994 when Reprise Records rejected his second album and dropped him. Happily, he was able to pick himself up and become a successful songwriter, scoring number one hits in 1998 with Garth Brooks' "Two PiƱa Coladas" and Brooks & Dunn's "How Long Gone." Conventional wisdom would suggest that his self-released disc, Lucky Silver Dollar, would be a glorified publishing demo, except that a guy with his success probably doesn't need to be passing his CD to potential clients. Rather, the album seems designed to demonstrate that Camp still has potential as a performer. He has gotten Allen Reynolds and Mark Miller, Garth Brooks' producers, to handle the board, which is pretty high-voltage help for a vanity release. But his performances justify the effort. Unlike a lot of Nashville's writers, he's a good singer with an elastic tenor and, having co-written all the material, he has a good interpretative handle on it. Still, it's that material that makes Lucky Silver Dollar a success. Good songs are always at a premium in Nashville, and it's hard to believe some of these titles (the ones that haven't already been cut by Tracy Byrd, John Anderson, or Brooks & Dunn) haven't been put on hold or on record by major stars. There are more strong ballads by Camp and John Scott Sherrill where "How Long Gone" came from (the Jimmy Buffett-styled "Middle of Nowhere" and "Lost at Sea"), a terrific Cajun story-song ("Tune of the Twenty Dollar Bill"), and a song Hank Williams could sing if he were around to do so ("Walkin' the Line," cut by Byrd in 1998). These compositions are a cut above what you usually hear on a country album, and Camp deserves to be back on a major label.

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