By Dan Matheson
Cameron Blake En Route (2009)
- This Is All
- The Love Song Never Died
- Fit Right In
- Change Of Pace
- Hudson Line
- On My Way To Jordan
- Lonely Towns
- When It Comes Down To It
Singer/Songwriter Cameron Blake‘s sophomore album En Route is a moving piece of art house folk rock. The Baltimore musician lays down 12 tracks of passionate, eclectic and melodic folk music with hints of the more experimental side of the Beatles and even The Doors.
Art house rock is not my usual choice of music so you’ll have to pardon my simplicity. I am, however, familiar with folk music and that influence is prominent on most songs on “En Route” thanks to the frequent, yet not overdone, use of violins performed by Hollis Roberts and Cameron Blake himself. I find the violin tends to bring all the various styles together like a warm blanket of melodies.
I found it interesting that when I loaded “En Route” into iTunes that the album was listed as unclassifiable, but I have to admit that I found myself agreeing with that classification (or lack thereof) while I listened to the album. There is no set format to the CD – unlike any Kiss or AC/DC album, where you pretty much know exactly what you’ll get. Cameron Blake mixes things up with each song so you’re never sure what’ll be next.
This is by no means saying that the album is disjointed. There is still a flow and consistency throughout the music that keeps it from sounding like a compilation of various artists. I believe, as I mentioned earlier, the violin and Cameron’s vocals are what keeps this album focused.
“En Route” starts off with one of the best songs on the album – “This Is All”. It is a moving song that builds on its folk base with jazzy keyboards and some electric guitars. The melody is super catchy. “The Love Song Never Died” is similar though not as rocky, but more upbeat in a melancholy way. And “Harness” stays mellow with a more straight forward folk approach.
“Change Of Pace” is an upbeat number that reminds me of the experimental side of the Beatles mixed with the Eels. It’s catchy and passionate. “When It Comes Down To It” is a slower, sombre piece that has a Beatlesesque feel. The album closer “Hospital” is a foot-stomping rocker that reminds me in part of The Doors as well as The Replacements. It has a raw edge which is different than the rest of the album.
Some of the standout songs for me are “Lonely Towns” with its haunting atmosphere and moving choirs. A unique tune that’s both quiet and eclectic, “On My Way To Jordan” has a country gospel sound that works well with thought-provoking lyrics. “Hudson Line” is a heart-breaking tune that’s poetic and melodic, honest and heartfelt. My favourite song is “Fit Right In”. The twinkling piano is super catchy, the music is uplifting and is lyrically inspiring.
Cameron Blake has put together a collection of unique and special songs that are honest, passionate and fun. He is a solid musician and a confident songwriter and I look forward to future releases.
Visit Cameron Blake on Myspace.
Dan is an avid music lover and a metalhead at heart. Dan is Canadian and brother to fellow reviewer Jody. In his spare time from his Marketing & Sales job, he blogs about his extensive CD collection.