Jim Campilongo has an ancient Fender Telecaster with all kinds of sweet spots, and Campilongo knows how to manipulate every one of those spots to get a wild variety of spooky, bendy effects that sound as close as one can get to a pedal steel guitar without adding a B-bender to the neck.
You won’t hear that so much when he’s playing the sweet country of “The Prettiest Girl in New York,” but on the following number, “I’m Helen Keller and You’re a Waffle Iron,” he gets pretty freaky.
It was quite a display of texture all set for Campilongo, who has speed but doesn’t overuse it. Instead, it’s about creating dense chords, layered harmonies and manipulating the Tele’s neck and body to make it sound mysterious.
With rock-solid and tasteful “Ramblin’” Rob Heath (drums) and Jeff Hill (bass) onstage with him, he played two sets on Friday night at Jefferson Center‘s rehearsal hall. “The Prettiest Girl …” and “I’m Helen Keller …” are among several songs I shot. I’ll try to get a couple more up soon.