There’s a difficult task to finding proper folk music that shakes up your soul. Acoustic stylings are plenty, but songs one can truly emerge into are few and far between. But British singer/songwriter Ruu Campbell has created an album that meets those soulful desires. His debut album, Heartsong, includes polished folk talents and distinctive songs.
The initial track, “Caravan”, has a slow melody laced with pure guitar and vocals. For much of the song, that melancholy melody remains constant, however, in place of the chorus, the vocals and guitar merge to form a dramatic area of soft “ohs” and various words and busy guitar. The lyrical content plays along with the peaks of the song. Campbell sings “I carry mine, carry mine/Lost for word, lost in time” as the song sways into the simple chorus. “Caravan” is full of mysterious emotions.
“Invisible Man,” has a different sound and outlook, giving Heartsong a variety of styles. The song starts with this musical declaration. The collision of various instruments creates a grand introduction. When Campbell’s vocals come in, they seem far away or echoed. The slightly more upbeat melody, with guitar and soft drums, in combination with Campbell’s vocal oddity creates a full sound. The melody is accompanied by lyrics like “sometimes you feel like you are/who you are/sure we will learn and we will listen” that demonstrate the song’s depth in describing human vulnerability.
“Crossroads” is a faster track, with a twangy guitar and hints of wary travels. This song features a darker melody with a soft bass beat and a dominant guitar. The emotion created is that of hurry and tension and the song builds up throughout, strengthening that environment. The chorus includes the question “now my brothers/under the sun/can you tell me/where we come from?” The song, with the rushed guitar and unifying lyrics, presents itself in a strange haze of a self-mission.
Heartsong is a complete work of indie perfection, with numerous offerings. At this point, Campbell has gotten my attention and I’m involved. Yet, the song that really took me was “Love Guide Me Home”, a short declaration of the power and acceptance in love. This song is another display of pure guitar, but plays extremely soft the entire time. The only hint of an increase introduces the chorus’ lyrics, which state “love guide me home/so long the surface/come as you are/it’s good enough, good enough, good enough”. Campbell’s vocals follow the melody, increasing only to emphasize “come as you are”, a particularly nice piece of comfort.
Campbell has put out a single, ‘The Call”, which shows off his talent for simple guitar pieces and experimental vocal techniques. The melody is slow, but the vocals create a push that drives the song. The lyrical content includes descriptive scenarios like “down by the water/all the lights around me/thank you for the pleasure/all the treasures I have seen/when she whispered in my ear/you won’t always know I’m there/I said all I cannot give you, and all I am I share”. However, the vocal push comes at the climax of “hear my call”, which includes a dramatic silence and powerful declaration of, “I want it all”. Campbell also increases the conclusion of the song by blending the guitar, vocals, and other stringed instruments together. The sound is fuller and grand.
Campbell’s passion and clever lyrics are embedded and celebrated in Heartsong. The album is calming and sincere, but demanding and ever present. Campbell’s heart and soul are on display and perfect placed to shake up one’s soul. Heartsong is a musical remedy.