“Larry courted me with a Louvin Brothers mix tape,” said Teresa Williams last week at the beginning of her showcase set at Rockwood Music Hall with husband Larry Campbell. “Talk about romance!”
That was some 25 years ago—which helps explain both the funny marital banter (“Twenty-three percent of my time is spent waiting on her,” said Larry Campbell. “My father said when I got married to be on time for it to work,” said Williams. “It didn’t sink in,” said Campbell.) and the couple’s perfect duet singing.
As for the Louvins, if not a brothers vocal blend, the pair’s second-nature harmonizing came easy on “You’re Running Wild,” the Brothers’ 1956 Top 10 country hit, that is on Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams, their debut album coming out June 23 on Red House Records. As for Williams, she epitomizes the Americana genre as a singer, able to hold a note forever while subtly modifying its tone or just belt it out and let it go.
And as for Campbell, well, his pedigree precedes him, as everyone at Rockwood well knew.
“I spent a lot of years on the road with Bob Dylan,” he said matter of factly but not without understood weight. “In many ways that deserves a round of applause.”
Clearly, he was happier with the ensuing seven years of working closely with another noteworthy Dylan accompanist, The Band’s Levon Helm: “We’d talk about our experiences [with Dylan] for hours. It was very interesting.”
Very understated. So was his solo acoustic guitar play on Irish composer/harpist Turlough O’Carolan’s “Blind Mary,” which he included on his 2005 solo acoustic guitar album Rooftops, which will be reissued shortly. Campbell prefaced it by noting how he learned it during the nights when he locked himself in the tour bus bathroom after Dylan gigs, then practiced for hours while working off leftover energy from the shows.
It was only fitting that Campbell and Williams included Johnny Cash’s “Big River,” since they make the same kind of beautiful music together that Cash did with his wife June Carter Cash.
Here’s a performance of a classic blues included in Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams: