With an Acoustic Look Back, Jeremy Camp Goes "Unplugged"

Artist:  Jeremy Camp
Title:  "Live Unplugged:  Jeremy Camp"
Label:  BEC

Jeremy Camp has quickly made a name for himself as not only the most successful solo artist in the history of BEC Recordings but also one of the most critically acclaimed voices in all of Christian music this new millennium.

His “Male Vocalist of the Year” victory at the 2004 GMA Awards was a bellwether event that signaled the arrival of a new generation of artists to a long-stagnant Christian music scene. "Live Unplugged: Jeremy Camp," a CD/DVD release, sees the now two-time “Male Vocalist of the Year” taking a quick breather from the early success of his career to offer a look back at some of his most-beloved songs.

"Unplugged," which was recorded last year in Franklin, Tenn., features 11 songs from all three of Camp’s previous albums. The presentation is what you’d expect, as it fits perfectly into the MTV "Unplugged"-style concert. Camp’s arrangements don’t stray much from the originals, but are simplified, stripped-down and, most importantly, more personal.

While he has made a name for himself as a rock artist and his gutsy vocals fit well with the heavier production of his other work, "Unplugged" shows that Camp also has the control and emotion necessary to carry a more intimate, adult project.

“Understand” best exemplifies this, as the rock of the original gives way to a moderate tempo that powerfully showcases the personal nature of the lyrics in ways that the former never did. In fact, if I had to pick between the "Unplugged" versions found here versus the originals, more often than not "Unplugged" feels superior because the songs feel more sincere with no extra layers of production to drown out the message. "Unplugged" shows us that the extra production bells and whistles may have sounded nice, but were not the key to Camp’s success.

The DVD isn’t fully loaded but is a nice bonus. The non-animated menus give you three options:  play the concert, select songs, and extras (which are sparse). The advantage to viewing the concert rather than listening to it on CD is that the inter-song banter is kept, and so viewers are treated to moments of humor as well as stories behind the songs, including a poignant moment about the passing of his first wife, Melissa.

Together, the CD/DVD serves as a worthy reminder of why Camp has quickly become so celebrated in the industry, and it also serves as a nice introduction for those who have yet to take the plunge.

© 2006 CCM Magazine.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.   Click here to subscribe.