Thursday, November 9th, 2006
Over The Wheat And The Barley
Not necessarily the first person you’d think of as a workaholic, but Isobel Campbell just released her second album of 2006, Milk White Sheets. Recorded amidst the sessions for Ballad Of The Broken Seas (while waiting for Mark Lanegan to find time to record his parts), it’s quite a different beast from its Mercury-nominated sibling. Whereas that record saw the Scottish songstress exploring new and interesting country-soul directions, Milk White Sheets is a collection of traditional and traditional-sounding songs that is very much in the vein of the wispy, folk of her earlier records.
To be fair, Campbell’s voice – while pretty – isn’t the most versatile instrument and there’s no fault in sticking to one’s strengths. The songwriting (she contributes a number of originals alongside the standards) and arrangements both serve the fairy tale atmosphere of the record quite effectively and for what it aspires to be, Milk White Sheets can be called a success. And yet I can’t help feeling a bit frustrated and even a bit disappointed by this release, which is odd because I don’t actually have many/any expectations of Ms Campbell. I guess I just hoped that the Lanegan collaboration, which I found intriguing if not entirely successful, might signal a new, less predictable phase in her career. But then again, she tells Billboard that she’s been working a little with Giant Sand-man Howe Gelb – that could be promising. What can I say – I think she works best in ampersand-ed projects.
The Constantines inject a little rock into the December concert calendar (which is looking pretty anemic right now) with a show at Lee’s Palace on December 1. Then the next day they’re part of an all-ages matinee benefit at Lee’s for Care Canada, on a bill that also features
K-OS and Jason Collett. Collett will then headline the evening show at Lee’s. Tickets for the three shows are $17.50, $16 and $15 respectively and go on sale tomorrow (the Collett tickets are already available). Also just announced – Elliott Brood are at Lee’s on December 15 and are also playing the Weewerk show thing at the Toronto Reference Library next Saturday evening. No idea if tickets for that are still available.