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New Tune : Left Vessel : This Year Be


Photo Credit: Elisa Terrazas Campbell


Here's a little insider knowledge for anyone who is dipping their toe into my music-related banter for the first time.


I very rarely love a song the first time I hear it.


Even a great song.


Once bitten, twice shy, I guess, and I'm certain Third Eye Blind should shoulder at least some of the blame. Point is, I approach all new music cautiously, not unlike attempting to bum a cigarette from snake in the wild. Now, of course, there are exceptions. The last that comes to mind was Matt Berninger's "One More Second," and I've yet to regret that one.

I guess it's fair to say, I prefer the cocktail over the shot, which was precisely why I was shocked at how pleased I was after just one spin of Left Vessel's "Your Winter."

So much to like in a mere 2'34". Plainspoken lyrics, effortless vocals and an arrangement that doesn't call too much attention to itself, right up until the piano and French horn-laden bridge that threatens to bring a tear to the eye of even the crustiest of characters. Plus, it's so short that it sucker punches you and hurries out the backdoor before you're able to pick yourself (or your jaw) off the barroom floor.


So, great song that would slot nicely into a playlist that includes, say, Iron and Wine, early-Bon Iver, and perhaps even the mighty Red House Painters.


But here's the rub. I was supposed to be listening to "This Year Be," the second single from One (And Driftless).


My bad. Here's that one.

Not a bad tune, but for me, not quite up to the bar set by "Your Winter."


But since you asked, Left Vessel is the moniker of Bend, Oregon-based soundsmith Nick Byron Campbell. Yes, Bend is also home to the last Blockbuster Video, but that's a completely different conversation. Anyway, after making the rounds in multiple bands over the years, including Wages, Sincere Gifts, and Arizona, Campbell elected to go solo and eventually made his way to Minnesota's Driftless Area to craft a record truly at one with its environment. Subsequently, the listener is presented with songs in which the sounds of birds, bugs and leaves intermingle with the instruments, including a little something Campbell calls an arbow, which involves amplifying the sound of a live tree being bowed and plucked.


Sounds like a good opportunity to break out the good headphones.


But wait...how does one tune a tree?


Don't make obvious REO Speedwagon joke. Don't make obvious REO Speedwagon joke. Don't make obvious REO Speedwagon joke.


Anyway, One (And Driftless) will hit the bins tomorrow, thanks to the fine folks at GiftShop Records.

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