Photo: Doug McKendry
One of the most talented couples in music—and two of the nicest people—Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams have like-minded friends, and they called on one of them, Cindy Cashdollar, to join them for one of their residency shows at New York City’s City Winery. What a treat!
With as many stringed instruments Campbell plays superlatively, on lap steel guitar and Dobro, Cashdollar’s got all the boys—including Campbell—knocking at her glass ceiling: she’s simply the best in the business today. On “Foggy Mountain Rock” Campbell and Williams served up terrific harmony, but then Campbell and Cashdollar went head-to-head on what verged on a friendly instrumental dual at breakneck speed. I was out of breath myself by the end of the tune, just listening.
“When I Stop Loving You,” a song co-written by Campbell and Stax/Volt alumnus William Bell, one of several show-stoppers that night, showed the audience the love between husband Campbell and wife Williams. At one point Williams spoke about the hardships of the road, and the Tennessee gal broke down, misty-eyed, about missing her family back home, prompting “Awww” from the audience instead of the usual “Ahhh!” (We’re told this tune will be included on a new Campbell/Williams album.)
The group’s version of Roger Miller’s “Big River,” which has been successfully covered by everyone from Johnny Cash to the Grateful Dead (both Campbell and Williams play with Phil Lesh from time to time), romped along infectiously, in no small part thanks to bassist Jesse Murphy. From his seat in the audience, drummer Doug McKendry observed the incongruity of “hearing all these perfect country songs while feeling the rumble of the subway below us.”
The encore included an excellent version of one of my least favorite tunes, the craven “Long Black Veil,” with vocals by Williams, and a perfect version of one of my very favorite tunes, “Deep Elum Blues,” which Campbell and Williams have been delivering for years. I hope “Deep Elum” makes it into the mix on the new CD. In the meantime, we’ll just have to keep showing up at the residencies to get our Larry Campbell/Teresa Williams fix, and hope that Cindy Cashdollar will find some time to join them again.