If you ever find yourself within the world of modern folk – Evan Westfall, Taylor Meier, and Matt Vinson are names you need to know. This rising trio, Caamp, is currently signed to the independent record label, Mom + Pop Music and describes themselves as “Ohio boys, making beautiful noise.” My first encounter with the band was front row at Detroit’s Majestic Theatre in April of 2018, where they opened for the electrifying, genre-breaking group, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, and immediately captured my attention with their unique sound and heartwarming attitude. Over the past couple years, I’ve sang and danced along to their every “yip yip” at several of their Detroit shows, including their 2019 Mo Pop Festival performance. Fans of The Lumineers, Mt. Joy, or The Head and the Heart should definitely open their minds to these Ohioan boys. Since the release of their 2016 self-titled album, they’ve shared several works including two partner EPs, Boys (A Side) and Boys (B Side), their 2019 sophomore album, By and By, a Live From Newport Music Hall EP, and a fresh August 2020 single, “Fall, Fall, Fall.”
“Fall, Fall, Fall” is, as the band describes, “a song about change.” Its thoughtful lyrics are meant to be an introspective call to action with a hope for the future, particularly regarding environmental conservation and the fight against racial injustice. Lead singer, Meier, pleads “I want my kids to swim in the creek” and wonders “will this dark world soon become clearer? Or are we bound to stay quiet and drift off into sleep?” Meier muses over the track with his iconic, raspy vocals, backed with the colorful guitar and banjo melodies the trio has always mastered.
The accompanying music video is a collaboration with the non-profit organization, Local Motives, that documents and shares the effects of climate change throughout the United States through a video series. This is not a new partnership as Caamp has always been active in the climate change conversation. They recently sold an Earth Day Tee, dedicating half of the proceeds to Local Motives. Additionally, they worked to raise funds for MusiCares, an emergency relief fund for musicians and others in the industry, and For Black Lives Fund, supporting the Equal Justice Initiative, Impact Justice, and The Bail Project. It seems they’ve truly adopted their mantra from the song, “Wunderbar:” “love and grace is what we need.”
One of the most defining qualities of these plucky mountain men is their authenticity. I have seldom seen a group dedicate as much attention to spreading such a wholesome and positive message thematically through their music and in relationship with their fan base. Despite their rapidly growing following, they remain focused on connecting to their fans such as through their Caamping program, a grassroots marketing “street team” that anyone can join. I signed up and received official Caamp coffee sleeves to hand out to my local coffee shops, as well as updates from the band regarding merchandise, touring, and music releases. To remain united in quarantine, the band developed two nature-inspired coloring books as well as Taylor’s “lonely together <3” playlist on Spotify. When they sign-off their Instagram posts saying “we love ya, we miss ya,” we know they really do.
Together, they paint stories of love, joy, and wanderlust in these tunes for the heart. They have a way of bringing listeners into their human experience with their irresistibly catchy melodies and vivid imagery such as my favorite line, “All the freckles on your face tell me constellations don’t stay in space!” Luckily for fans, these beer-loving boys have not stopped at the Caamp collective. Taylor and Matt have both taken their fresh folk sound to solo projects. Taylor, also known as Sumbuck, has already amassed hundreds of thousands of streams on Spotify for his singles and claims a full album is on its way. Matt has already released three albums under the pseudonym, The Wonderfool. As Caamp appears at more festivals, gains more social media followers, and releases more of their lovely tunes, I have no doubt that their positive impact and genuine talent will be more widely recognized. I am so lucky to have seen them grow, but it’s not too late to go Caamping.
“Caamp.” Mom Pop, www.momandpopmusic.com/caamp.
Claudia is an incoming junior at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, studying Communication and Media and Performing Arts Management and Entrepreneurship. Music has always been an important part of her life, and her passion only continues to grow. For several years, she worked at her local record store, Dearborn Music, where she realized her desire to connect people with the music that they love. On campus, she is involved in the student organization, MUSIC Matters, where she works to plan and execute community events like live shows for local artists and their annual lifestyle festival, Springfest, headlined each year by a major artist. She enjoys getting involved in the Detroit and Ann Arbor music scenes, attending shows and festivals and shopping to build her vinyl collection. She is interested in talent agency and live performance production and hopes to learn about artist development and record label operations through her internship at Music Noises.