Solo Albums #10

27 07 2009


 I first heard Cameron McGill when I traveled to Chicago to see Butch Walker at the Abbey Pub.  One of the opening acts was a local (Chicago) artist named Cameron McGill who performed with an acoustic guitar and two other musicians who played strings.  I was quite impressed so I went down to the merch table and bought his first solo album Stories of the Knife and the Back.  It wasn’t the acoustic & cello/viola/violin type album that I was hoping for, but I really enjoyed the pop and acoustic tracks contained within.

The next time I saw him, he performed at a really small bar in Milwaukee for what I recall to be a battle of the bands.  I was in Milwaukee on business and took a really expensive cab ride there to see him.  I got to chat with him for a little bit and at one point I was a little bit embarassed to realize he looked at my jacket lapel….because I unintentionally and unknowingly had a small button with his face on it and the words “Who the Hell Is Cameron McGill?”  I purchased it at his show a few years prior in Chicago.  It had become so much a part of my jacket that I had forgotten it was there…….yet, I’m sure I looked like Mr. Superfan-Fanboy.  I digress.  After his performance I spoke to him some more and purchased a copy of his (then new) album Street Ballads & Murderesques, based on that nights performance of the gorgeous “When It Could Hurry.”  Street Ballads & Murderesques is an extremely stripped down affair that calls to mind Bob Dylan.

Which finally brings me to the new album, Warm Songs For Cold Shoulders.  2009’s most beautiful album you’ve never heard of.  I don’t really have words to describe this album.  It’s more of the same as we heard from Street Ballads.  I usually roll my eyes when I hear songs that protest the Iraq war, or George Bush or what have you…. inspiration likely strikes the songwriter, but the songs always seem to sound uninspired and contrived.  The exception to this rule is Cameron McGill’s “Lose Americans.”  “They’re kinda like a phantom limb on your family tree today/Hey America/How does it feel to lose Americans that way?”



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