It’s my pleasure to share Jeff Campbell’s “Fill The Spaces” from his upcoming album The Kitchen Sink.
Campbell jumps right in a with a bit of raucous introspection.
Riffy and strummy leading up to a singalong chorus, Campbell deftly rocks it with a touching tribute. I especially like the starkly sweet ending. Nice.
Campbell shares, ”This song came about after my brother and his wife gave our family its first baby, my first niece. Everyone thought I should write a song about the milestone in our lives, so I tried. After staring at a picture of her taken minutes after she was born, I took a left and by the time I got to the chorus, I was just barking advice at the poor child about living in the moment, never forgetting where she’s from and always remembering that we’ll always love her."
Watch him strap an acoustic guitar on his back; board a public bus with 75 strangers; and traipse his way across the country. Here’s a singer-songwriter who loves nothing more than the sweet sound of his own voice reverberating off a music venue’s back walls. Yes, this is Jeff Campbell’s life, and as he’ll readily tell you, it isn’t so much a choice as his life’s calling. “It’s just me, man,” says the vocalist, impassioned songwriter and lifelong musician who with The Kitchen Sink has at long last concocted the album that represents him at his core and is willing to do whatever it takes to feel the rush of human connection. Says Campbell: “This is who I am.”
An emotional, evocative poet with a rock lover’s heart, Campbell navigated nearly a decade spent nursing a nine-to-five job before realizing you can only run so long from your true passion. Now, on The Kitchen Sink, Campbell combines his hunger for stellar songcraft, rope-you-in riffs and threading melody into his most profound musical statement yet. It’s an album the soft-spoken singer views as his “life’s work,” and the passion and commitment to his craft is supremely evident in its cutting clarity.
For Campbell, who won Guitar Center’s songwriting competition in 2013, and as a result notched both a performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and a stunning EP, In Spite of Everything, recorded with Grammy-winning producer John Shanks (Van Halen, Bon Jovi), Kitchen Sink was a wonderful opportunity: namely to let go of any preconceived ideas of who he was as a musician and “let the songs go where they went. It’s what I’ve grown into now,” he explains of a nine-track LP that melds the Philadelphia native’s longtime love of raucous rock with his more recent understanding of a lyricist’s poetic power. “I have to continue down the path that I’m on,” he says proudly of Sink’s potential for longevity.
Hunkering down with Shanks and a cadre of seasoned session pros to record In Spite of Everything was a priceless crash course for Campbell in the art of commercial production and songwriting. And yet he’ll be the first to admit he went for a far more raw, spare sonic aesthetic on The Kitchen Sink. “I like a nice duo of electric or acoustic guitars and the words and the melody speaking for themselves,” he explains of an LP largely written and recorded in his home studio. This loose approach is evident in the tender “Jail,” the harmonious “No One Keeping Score” and the airy, suspended “Overboard.” “I think there’s an art in doing what a band like U2 does,” he offers. “What you hear live is what you hear on the record: One guitar, a bass and drums. If you can fill up the space with as little instruments as possible, then why the hell not?”
It’s all in the spirit of connectivity, for Campbell: eliminate as many barriers as possible between the songwriter and connecting with the audience. Sure, Campbell knows he could record hundreds of videos on YouTube and pray one goes viral. But that’s not him: even as his fanbase continues to swell, Campbell craves intimacy and immediacy. “Performing live is my absolute favorite thing,” Campbell says. “The feeling of connecting with people onstage is just great. Whether it’s a big stage or a small stage there’s really no better feeling. And if you know that you have people’s attention and they’re with you it’s even better.”
Success for Campbell remains an ever-evolving notion, but the proud song-spinner knows no matter his future he’s now attacking it as his true self. “I’m having fun and being true to myself,” Campbell concludes. “I’ve landed comfortably at a position in my life where I’m like, ‘Finally! This is who I am.’ I’m at peace.”
Find out more at www.jeffcampbellmusic.com/