Crooked Mouth is the recording project of guitarist/songwriter Ken Campbell.
Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, Crooked Mouth has, somehow, managed to keep a pulse since 2001 and over 3 albums. In that time a core of musicians and vocalists have conspired to produce a distinctive, if hard to classify, sound. Joining Campbell (guitar) are regular contributors Tony Hodge (drums), Ali Mitchell (keyboards), Leen (bass), Kenny Haig (lead vocals) and Lynne Campbell & Eilidh Maclean (both backing vocals).
Earlier recordings also featured Simon Ellis (keyboards), Chris Stenhouse (bass) and Mike McCann (bass).
Guest slots have been taken by Mike Warren (cello on the 2007 release, Hold in the Sun) and, fresh from working with the Steve Hackett band, Rob Townsend (sax) on One Bright Midnight.
As you might expect the influences at work are varied, encompassing hard rock, metal, traditional acoustic flavours, orchestral styles, the film scores of the two Johns – Barry and Carpenter – and all stages in between.
Some have attempted to attach labels to Crooked Mouth and suggestions of ‘an eclectic mix of post-modern, art and progressive rock’ are not uncommon. In an attempt to sharpen the focus, some commentators have sought to compare the band to others in the progressive or art-rock spaces, but there’s little common ground to be found in the various theories. Ultimately, the labels are less important than the music and the band tends to see such debate as confirmation of achieving an individual sound.
Whatever the output, Crooked Mouth is making music in a time of almost limitless opportunity. While the debut album, Crooked Mouth, was recorded entirely in a studio setting, later releases have used a blend of studio and home recordings, allowing time for more experimentation. The result, to date, is a collection of three distinct albums of music bound together by common threads: contrasting electric and acoustic guitars, lush keyboard and piano work and dynamic vocal harmonies, all underpinned by intelligent rhythms and a hint of electronics.
As always, 10% of sales are donated to Sightsavers International.
Where next? An eight year gap between Hold in the Sun and One Bright Midnight has less to do with ‘artistic preference’ and more to do with the reality of balancing music-making with the needs of the real world. Not wanting to wait for so long to share new ideas, the band is aiming to drip-feed tracks from new recordings, Dragonfly, as they go.
Will it work? Let’s find out…
Crooked Mouth (2003)
'...shines with sincerity, originality and a genuine inspiration'
Vitaly Menshikov, Progressor
Hold in the Sun (2007)
'Each song absolutely sparkles with a myriad of ideas...a highly recommended release for those who like the energy and innovation of more modern bands, mixed with a symphonic progressive sensibility.'
Brian G., Progressive Ears
One Bright Midnight (2015)
'..the standard of production and craft that has gone into this release is first rate...every selfrespecting modern day prog fan should take a chance with it...'
Eric Perry, Dutch Progressive Rock Pages