Gaslight Street’s regional presence had grown by 2013 behind the release of their third album, Heavy Wind. Featuring the unmistakably soulful lyrics and vocals of Campbell Brown, the follow-up to 2011’s Idle Speed and 2009’s Blue Skies For Fools strongly stakes the band’s place as worthy inheritors of the Southern soul tradition. Brown is joined in Gaslight by keyboardist/bassist Whitt Algar, 2014 CPMA Keyboardist of the year, who is also a key vocalist and songwriter to this blues-based rock outfit. Stratton Moore rounds out the rhythm section with his tastefully funky chops and keeps the band grooving much like the pioneers of the Muscle Shoals days.
Idle Speed starkly reminds us of music’s ability to take the most desolate of human emotions and give them shine. Not that it’s a sad album. Rather, it’s a career defining body of songs from a man coming to terms with a crumbling family life, heard in the opening strains of “Fast and Slow,” a late night, solo home recording by Brown. It’s fittingly followed by “Vicksburg,” a Civil War tale of a man reluctantly forced into a bitter battled, destined for defeat, featuring Cary Ann Hearst on harmony vocals. With a driving, gritty Southern backbeat, Campbell Brown’s heart wrenching, soulful vocals lift the analog tape-recording album into an optimistic backwoods boogie. The title track “Idle Speed” and “Black As Coal” (both of which are featured in a spring 2012 episode of the popular fishing television show GillzNFinz ) keep the wheels rolling fast, before the album’s closer and second single, “April Mournin’.”
“Gaslight Street have crafted a signature sound that is equal parts honey and moonshine, with Brown the catalyst for the soul-infused swagger,” remarks Jamie Lee of Honest Tune and Hittin’ the Note magazines. “ Idle Speed could’ve been the swan song for Gaslight Street. But the spark remains. The band is stoking it, and rightfully so.”
After five years of touring the Southeast and recording, Gaslight Street is quickly making strides. Their fall tour includes a notable stop at the Bear Creek Music Festival in Live Oak, Florida, performing alongside musicians that have influenced their sound, including The Funky Meters and Galactic. “Constantly Running” (from Blue Skies ) and “April Mournin’” continue to enjoy local airplay on Charleston’s 105.5 The Bridge, and Campbell Brown and Whitt Algar were both nominated in the 2011 Charleston Music Award’s for “Best Male Singer” and “Best Keyboardist.”