It is truly hard to comprehend that we are rapidly approaching the third anniversary of “Oxford Street,” the amazing debut album released by ON. singer-songwriter Campbell Woods; and still considered one of the finest debut albums that we’ve featured here at GDW. So imagine our delight upon learning that Campbell has just put the finishing touches to his sophomore album, “Keeper,” available tomorrow in digital format, and with physical copies to follow at a later date.
To officially launch this collection of ten brand new tracks, Campbell is excited to share a music video for “Picture Of You,” the first single released from “Keeper,” and premiered here for your viewing pleasure. And yes, spoiler alert, “Picture Of You” is pure poetry, as we have come to expect from Woods: “There’s a picture of you that I will always keep / I took one morning in Val Marie / Your eyes are shining with the rising sun / I knew as soon as I took it that I’d like that one,” he recites during the opening verse of this beautiful, slow-burning folk-roots trip down memory lane. “There’s a picture of us at Lake Louise / We wanted the water to be brochure free / But the snow was slow to melt last Spring / We’re disappointed but we’re still smiling.”
The music video features footage captured by Woods during his cross-country tour last summer, and compiled here as a vivid snapshot of such recent memories for Woods. “This video is a montage of Super8 footage shot by myself, [and friends] Chesel Alexander, Morgan Williams, and edited by Landon Johnson at Little Jack Films,” Campbell shares. “It’s mostly shots of the prairies from touring Canada, and a portion was filmed at hotel2tango, which is the studio where I made the record in Montreal.” The 8mm videography adds an aura of authenticity and timelessness to the music video, offering an insight to the realities of life on the road for touring musicians on the tightest of budgets. Yet I find myself mesmerized by these flickering images. Farmlands, heartlands, and small town life. Motels, hotels, and big skies. And big iron horses, adorned with Canadian Pacific insignia, sharing those cross-country journeys too.
Such symbolic images combine beautifully with Campbell’s poignant words, gently nudging us to connect the protagonists memories to moments of self reflection as the journey winds to a close. The naivete of a blossoming romance during the first verse eventually yields to a somber, lonely recollection of a possible lost love once the final verse rolls around: “So all these pictures of you I will keep with me / In case I ever go through Val Marie / I’ll return to that plain / What I’d give just to hear you complain / Still there’s one picture of you that I will always keep / It’s one I see when I sleep / I’m no more seventeen / And of you I don’t even dare to dream.”
With his own musical roots influenced by the likes of Gram Parsons and Townes Van Zandt, for Woods, with the challenge of making a new record came the desire to make a new start, uprooting from his Eastern Ontario home and relocating to the lure of the big city. “I came to Montreal to make [this record] and ended up staying here,” he shares. “It’s got a bunch of amazing people playing on it, including Thor Harris, Shazhad Ismaily, Mary Margaret O’Hara and Oliver Fairfield.” Surrounding himself in such esteemed company pays huge dividends for Woods, who also sought the services of GRAMMY-nominated engineer Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire) to handle the production duties.
Listening to “Keeper” is strongly recommended, and suggest you spend time with the strong, traditional folk-country charm of “Without You,” and the unbridled energy and upbeat nature of “Hoped For More.” And along with “Picture Of You,” may I also recommend “3 Different Towns,” which for me is a perfect modern-day classic that captures everything that is special about the music and demeanor of Campbell Woods.
We’re all struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the livelihoods of musicians and artists are especially impacted right now. We always encourage you to buy music, but we especially encourage you to consider it now. Visit Campbell Woods’ website and purchase his music.
The British guy that crossed the ocean and crash landed in central Pennsylvania (to quote Greg Keelor, “And I wonder what am I doing here?”). As the youngest of four siblings, exposure to music from a very early age nurtured my passion and appreciation for many musical genres. Continuing to discover some amazingly diverse and talented musicians based in Canada, I gravitate to live music experiences and remain devoted to spreading the word about such a vibrant music scene.