Shawn Camp & Billy Burnette

The Bluegrass Elvises, Vol. 1
(Thirty Tigers)

Shawn Camp plays everything from bluegrass to hardcore country, while rockabilly cat Billy Burnette spent almost 10 years with Fleetwood Mac and currently tours with John Fogerty. Their idea of doing Elvis bluegrass-style is a natural, considering Presley got his start with a rockabilly version of Bill Monroe's "Blue Moon of Kentucky." With the backing of six stellar pickers, the duo romps through 12 tunes, most from the early years of The King. "Hound Dog" is a good example of their approach, a blend of blues, rock, and bluegrass with Aubry Haynie's fiddle adding shimmering filigrees and Camp singing the lyrics in a style that recalls Presley's slurring delivery and Big Mama Thornton's grittier, bluesier version. "All Shook Up" is pure bluegrass taken at a sizzling tempo and featuring a tandem vocal from Camp and Burnette with pyrotechnic playing from Chris Henry on mandolin, Scott Vestal on banjo, and Haynie on fiddle. "A Big Hunk o' Love" is more playful than Elvis' dark, sexy version, and Burnette's lighthearted singing is complemented by Vestal's inventive, bluesy banjo picking. This isn't a reinvention — Presley reinvented bluegrass and country music himself — but an extension of the original impulse to erase boundaries in an effort to serve the music.

 
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