Published May 19, 2020It's unclear what parts of Campbell Woods' sophomore record, Keeper, are fictitious and what is drawn from personal experience. What's a constant, though, is the deep longing that is present across the album: a longing, primarily for love and stability. On "3 Different Towns," Woods yearns for a permanent home ("I've live in three different town since January and it's wearing me down. I just gotta find a place I can stay"); on "Ticket, Ring," with the future now indiscernible after a breakup, he sings, "I thought it'd be you and you thought it'd be me and I thought it'd be me, too."
Woods' songs are folky affairs that twang and rattle, and are covered in the dust from the places that he's been. On the tracklist that appears on Bandcamp, the now Montreal-based singer-songwriter includes the cities the songs were written in: Nashville, Halifax, Banff, Victoria and Toronto. Behind Woods is a powerhouse team including engineer Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire, Leonard Cohen), Mary Margaret O'Hara, Thor Harris (Bill Callahan, Swans), Olivier Fairfield (FET.NAT, Timber Timbre), Shahzad Ismaily (Yoko Ono), and more.
Woods and his team conjure a tenderness on Keeper; the aforementioned yearning rarely feels fractious. On the gorgeous opener "She's a Keeper (Reprise)," a quiet duet between Woods and O'Hara, Woods mourns a relationship, but with each repetition of "She's a keeper but I can't keep her for my own," it sounds like he is letting go. "For You" is an equally delicate song that's about giving all of yourself to the one you love.
Keeper won't mend your broken heart, but Woods' soft touches and friendly songwriting may help you feel better. (Record Centre Records)