Roots radical: Jim Campilongo takes up residency at the Falcon

Photo of Jim Campilongo by JR Delia

The name Jim Campilongo is known more among electric guitar aficionados than among the general music-fan population. He is especially familiar to devotees of one particular make of guitar: the Fender Telecaster. While there are many iconic guitars out there – the Stratocaster, the Les Paul, the SG, the Flying V and more – for some reason the Tele seems to sustain a particularly passionate and vital community-of-interest.

The Telecaster is mostly associated with blues and roots music and the virtuosi thereof. The San Francisco-bred New York resident Campilongo fits the bill, but with a thrashy, arty New York downtown edge that is not exactly purebred and pristine. He has released a number of mostly instrumental guitar-rock albums, but is probably most acclaimed for his session and sideman duties with Norah Jones in the Little Willies, with the rock band Cake and with various offshoots of the Wainwright/Thompson roots-music family syndicate.

The 2010 album Orange provides an excellent introduction to Campilongo’s idiosyncratic dialect of the roots-guitar language. His command of tone and voicelike expression are on bold display, as are the frequent touches of subversive wit that might not play so well in Nashville but that sound awesome up here.


Campilongo and his trio, including bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Tony Mason, will be at the Falcon in Marlboro on Thursday, March 29 and on the last Thursday of each month. Dinner begins at 5:30 p.m., the show at 7. See for more information.


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