Larry Campbell + Teresa Williams, “Surrender to Love” (2015): One Track Mind

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“Surrender to Love” has roots in Levon Helm’s Midnight Rambles, where Teresa and Larry Campbell’s musical relationship became as strong as their personal one, and their new self-titled album even features a contribution from the late Band legend. But the song, like much of Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams, is more personal than it is any kind of valedictory for Levon Helm — and Helm, who was earthy, flinty, funny and utterly without artifice, probably would have loved that.

“Surrender to Love” talks about passion, talks about connection, but does it with a glint in its eye. Their’s a relationship built on a foundation of music — Larry Campbell met Teresa when he sat in on one of her gigs at New York City’s Bottom Line in the ’80s — that then blossomed into something else. And they sound like that, as this soulful, tangy groove unfolds. Like old friends, talking in a very real way about their love.

Larry Campbell — who, like Helm, had a past association with Bob Dylan — began playing regularly with Teresa (who says she was reluctant to become a husband-and-wife duo) nearly 10 years ago, during the height of Levon Helm’s Midnight Rambles at his upstate New York barn. Later, both performed on Levon’s stirring 2007 comeback album Dirt Farmer, which Campbell co produced.

“Surrender to Love,” with its funny courthouse theme, has a similar feel, like something that’s both lived in and new to our ears — but that passionate intimacy, that bedrock sense of comfy joy, well, that’s theirs alone. The appropriately titled Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams is due June 23, 2015 via Red House Records. Levon Helm’s daughter Amy, another key contributor on Dirt Farmer, was part of the sessions, as was Bill Payne of Little Feat fame.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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