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Campbell, Neil: The Great Escape

Liverpool based Neil Campbell has been one of the most interesting and ambitious acoustic guitarists of recent years, a succession of often instrumental concept albums embellished by some more ‘group’ based outings. With The Great Escape, the composer hasn’t just been snapped up by a record label in the shape of Klee Records, he is also, dare I say it… upbeat. Not one to intentionally make dowdy music in the past, it may still be no exaggeration to proffer that with this album Campbell has made his most optimistic sounding set of tracks for quite some time, and I’d go as far as to suggest that some of this release could be classed as ‘playful’. That however isn’t to indicate that the results are any less involved and exhilarating than his previous work, just maybe a little more immediate.

With “Land Locked” offering a feeling of melancholic claustrophobia, it would be easy to interpret both the album title, The Great Escape, and rather lovely black and white album art where four, shall we say, more mature ladies are all staring longingly at a ferris wheel, as Campbell harking back to simpler times. However, there’s also a suggestion that this album is the musician’s very own long distance trip. Travel in these times has, of course, been something of a rarity, so maybe it should be no surprise that this guitarist’s eyes appear turned to far away places. “Incident In Rio”, “Don And Walt’s Hawaiian Excursion”, “Passport To Magonia” and “Spanish Feat” all hinting thematically at distant climes.

As you’d expect, Campbell’s acoustic guitar work is nothing short of masterful and aided and abetted by percussionist Viktor Norberg - and violinist Amy Chalmers on one track - I have no hesitation in suggesting that the chiming “Masquerade” and solemnly determined “Land Locked” are quite magnificent. In fact, for me the twelve tracks presented here really are rather special and while I’ve long been an admirer of Neil Campbell’s guitar work and composing-craft, in my estimation this might just be his best album yet.

Track Listing
1. Symzonia 

2. Incident in Rio 

3. Solar Monarch

4. Don and Walt’s Hawaiian Excursion

5. Land Locked

6. Passport to Magonia 

7. Another Estuary 

8. September

9. Masquerade

10. Spanish Feat 

11. Jazz Hands 

12. The Great Escape

Added: December 17th 2021
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Neil Campbell online
Hits: 525
Language: english

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