Thursday, October 02, 2003  
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Jim Campilongo Electric Trio
AMERICAN HIPS
BY BILL KISLIUK
Stars graphics

Somewhere between Bill Frisellís out-there take on country and Merle Haggardís outlaw roots stands Jim Campilongo, tugging on a whammy bar and making his Telecaster bend to his will. The long-time San Francisco guitarist ó whose trio have become regulars at NYCís home of the avant-garde, the Knitting Factory ó occupies some odd terrain on American Hips. Sometimes meditative and off-kilter, like an all-instrumental Cowboy Junkies (the group offer a narcoleptic cover of the Beatlesí "Michelle"), this band can also walk the jagged edge of roots rock, as on the twangy title track, a rumbler called "Like, Hello?", and the appropriately titled slow blues "Roy Buchananís Cousin." Campilongo is not quite a match for Frisell when it comes to using honky-tonk and jazz roots to paint a sonic soundscape, but heís built a singular sound after years of intense woodshedding and playing with free-thinkers like Bay Area pedal-steel man Joe Goldmark. And for those Norah Jones fans who are tired of listening to her multi-Grammy-winning disc, the sultry sensation appears here on two tracks, a dusky version of Patsy Clineís "Sweet Dreams" and a pretty waltz called "Stella."


Issue Date: September 12 - 18, 2003
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