Shawn Camp – Live at the Station Inn

Live at the Station Inn

Perhaps you’ve never heard of Shawn Camp, but chances are you’ve heard his songs. He penned number one hits for Garth Brooks and Brooks and Dunn, and wrote songs for George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Patty Loveless, and Randy Travis. Camp recorded his first solo album in 1993 and has since gone on to have quite a songwriting career, working with Guy Clark, Jim Lauderdale, Billy Burnett, and others. On Live at the Station Inn, Camp returns to his bluegrass roots by performing songs he’s written over the past decade with a band assembled from the best pickers in Nashville. The final result ranks as one of the best live bluegrass albums I’ve heard in many years.

Accompanying musicians include Mike Compton on mandolin, Stuart Duncan on fiddle, Dave Talbot and Scott Vestal on Banjo, Dennis Crouch and Dave Roe on bass, and Bucky Baxter on high-string rhythm guitar. Recorded in two nights at Nashville’s fabled Station Inn, the CD has the spontaneity and edgy quality of a one-time special musical event. Mike Compton and Stuart Duncan tear it up. Their double solo on “Sis Draper” kills me. The ballad “Magnolia Wind” also features a double-stop fiddle solo that every aspiring bluegrass fiddler should learn verbatim.

Recording Engineer David Ferguson handled the daunting job of recording in a live concert situation, the audio equivalent of swinging on a trapeze without a safety net, with skill and style. The sound on Live at the Station Inn avoids most of pitfalls of recording an acoustic group live in a club, such as too much room resonance, or bleed from one instrument to another’s microphone. While not quite the best live recording I’ve heard, the overall sonics never get in the way of the music.

Camp will release an album of new material in the very near future. Live at the Station Inn certainly makes a fine introduction to his catalog and should whet your appetite for the new record.

This article originally appeared in VG‘s Oct. ’04 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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