Shelley Campbell Blue Ridge Reveille

Shelley Campbell Blue Ridge Reveille
As a wayward bible college student in Lynchburg, Virginia, Shelley Campbell would seek out the other preachers’ kids and hitchhike to the nearest truck stop, where they could listen to music and smoke forbidden cigarettes. Though her stint there didn’t last, her infatuation with the South did, and she spent much of her 20s travelling across the States by van and thumb. This album reflects the contradictory pull of her evangelical upbringing and her persistent wanderlust; her style — understated vocals, a little torchy — is as much hippy as it is country queen. Campbell co-founded the Ranch music nights to provide a home for country music in Vancouver, and many of her co-conspirators appear here, including Radiogram’s Ken Beattie, who shares a duet. Her longing for the Blue Ridge — the mountain range that straddles North Carolina and Virginia — is more poignant given the devastation of the area during recent storms. Blue Ridge Reveille is steeped in nostalgia; dabbling in heartache, but equally content to recall the summer sounds of distant trains and crickets from the porch swing of her house in Virginia.

Tell me about the title of the album, Blue Ridge Reveille. It’s based on reminiscences, on a kind of spiritual connection with the area. The word "reveille” can be a sudden revelation, or a call to arms at first light of dawn. It was about the idea of traversing over land where the Civil War had so obviously left in its wake absolute demise, a massacre of very young boys to old men, and in some cases women and children as well. In my own way I was tapping into this idea, and also my own ghosts from the time I lived there.

Where was it in Southern Ontario that you grew up? Milton. It’s a small little town, just below the Niagara escarpment. There was so much to the cut of the land. It was a natural setting that had untold history; it seeped into my psyche. But in the summer my father would do evangelical work in the southern States, so family vacations were routed around his touring schedule. Showing us some of the schools that we could go to in the future. I was sent to Jerry Falwell’s school, Liberty University.

Does "Typical Truckstop” refer to a truck stop in Virginia? If you know Milton, then you’ll know the Fifth Wheel. I worked the graveyard shift at a doughnut shop beside it, and I’d go over to the truck stop and have my eggs over easy and coffee and stuff. It was never quite the same as American truck stops but it wasn’t too bad.

Yeah, what is it about American truck stops? I don’t know. More starch in the gravy? (Nettwerk)