‘Contraband Love’ — Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams explore darker themes with their new album | TheUnion.com

‘Contraband Love’ — Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams explore darker themes with their new album

Submitted to Prospector
Larry Campbell is most notably known for his time in Bob Dylan's band, but he and Teresa Williams played in Levon Helm's group as well.
Submitted photo to Prospector |


WHO: The Center for the Arts presents

WHAT: Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams with Peter Wilson opening

WHEN: Tuesday, Feb. 13, 7:30 PM

WHERE: The Center for the Arts, 314 W. Main St., Grass Valley

TICKETS: $24 Member, $27 General public. Tickets at: The Center for the Arts Box Office or by calling 530-274-8384 ext 14, BriarPatch Food Coop - 530-272-5333, and online at www.thecenterforthearts.org.

WEBPAGE: http://thecenterforthearts.org/event/larry-campbell-theresa-williams/

Multi-instrumentalist-singer-songwriter Larry Campbell and singer-guitarist Teresa Williams return to Grass Valley for an evening of music at The Center for the Arts on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

Their acclaimed eponymous 2015 debut, released after seven years of playing in Levon Helm’s band — and frequent guesting with Phil Lesh, Little Feat, Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady, brought to the stage the crackling creative energy of a decades-long offstage union. A whirlwind of touring followed including a stop in Grass Valley for the California WorldFest in 2016.

Campbell is renowned for his membership in Bob Dylan’s band, playing in Levon Helm’s group, and for his voluminous sideman and touring work.

Williams, also a member of Helm’s band, has had her own career for decades — she first hired Campbell in 1986 to back her at NYC’s Bottom Line — and has worked with Mavis Staples, Emmylou Harris, Dylan, Buddy and Julie Miller to name a few.

For seven years, beginning in 2005, they regularly performed at Levon Helm’s Midnight Rambles in Woodstock, New York. These Midnight Rambles were held several times a month at Levon Helm’s studio. After Helm’s passing, Campbell and Williams continued to perform at the Rambles which featured The Dirt Farmer Band.

Campbell and Williams released their first album together on June 23, 2015 following up with “Contraband Love” on in 2017.

“I wanted this record to be a progression, bigger than the first one,” Campbell said. “That’s all I knew. I wanted the songwriting to be deeper, the arrangements more interesting, the performances more dynamic. The subject matter was darker than anything else I’ve written.”

Although it was not his conscious intent, three of the eight tunes Campbell penned for “Contraband Love” deal either obliquely or directly with various emotions surrounding addiction.

“I was thinking about the things I’ve quit in my life,” he said. “The last time was cigarettes. I remembered the dreams I had in withdrawal.”

Musically, “Contraband Love” revisits the Americana textures of the duo’s debut, deftly channeling Memphis, Chicago, the Delta, and Appalachia with equal assurance.

“Contraband Love” stands as a new, bolder chapter in a story that arose triumphantly joyous from loss.

“Virtually everything we’ve done musically since I left Dylan’s band, we’ve been asked to do together: Levon, Phil and Friends, Jorma and Jack, Little Feat; we’ve done it all as a unit, a duo, and it’s great,” Campbell said. “The way I see it, when Teresa and I are together, doing our material for people who come to see us, then everything I ever wanted out of life is pretty well complete.”

Opening the show will be impresario/songwriter Peter Wilson.

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