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Cameron Blake — Fear Not (Jan 26, 2018)

Cameron Blake — Fear Not (Jan 26, 2018)

                    Cameron Blake — Fear Not (Jan 26, 2018)Cameron Blake — Fear Not (Jan 26, 2018)ζ≡     With an ensemble of nearly 50 musicians including a string section and girls choir, Cameron Blake’s new album Fear Not is a courageous and beautiful collection of songs that take you on a journey to places far and wide, within and without.      
ζ≡     “Philip Seymour Hoffman” is an unexpected jewel late in the album’s running order and avoids any of the uncomfortable sentimentality or trite musings you might think are coming when considering the actor’s tragic end. The musical arrangement is straight forward and provides a perfect sonic landscape for Blake to bring these words to muted, but deeply felt, dramatic life. “Sandtown”, the album’s penultimate number, rates as the most sustained, hard hitting musical moment on Fear Not and features a number of compelling shifts in dynamics. The song is obviously influenced heavily by mid~late 20th century jazz and fusion, but Blake doesn’t betray any reservations about the style and sounds quite inspired as a composer, lyricist, and singer. This is really quite a confident release throughout and a total rebuke to any naysayers who think younger generations of musicians don’t embrace the same artistic daring we associate with their iconic predecessor. This is a challenging and rewarding release in every fashion.
Location: Grand Rapids, MI, U.S.
Album release: Nov 17, 2017 / Jan 26, 2018
Record Label: Silver Slant Records / Continental Record Services
01. Fear Not     4:22 
02. After Sally     3:50 
03. The Only Diamond     3:45 
04. Fools Gold     2:56 
05. Queen Bee     3:01 
06. Tiananmen Square     5:23 
07. Old Red Barn     3:38 
08. Moonlight on a String     2:54 
09. Wailing Wall     4:56 
10. Philip Seymour Hoffman     2:06 
11. Sandtown     5:26 
12. Monterey Bay     4:35
℗ 2017 Cameron Blake
Recommended if You Like: Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, Ray Lamontagne
Album Notes:
ζ≡        Cameron Blake’s new album Fear Not is a courageous and beautiful collection of songs that takes you on a journey to places far and wide, within and without. With an ensemble of nearly 50 musicians, the listener is transported into the story of the Tank Man in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 (Tiananmen Square), the struggle of a migrant fleeing across the border to a new life (The Only Diamond I Could Find), the complexity and brutality of a racially charged riot in Baltimore (Sandtown) and a vignette on the life of the late actor Philip Seymour Hoffman (Philip Seymour Hoffman). There’s a storybook quality to many of these songs with lyrics and melodies that recall a seemingly more sentimental time (Fools Gold, Moonlight On A String) highlighted by lush string arrangements, a girl choir and a jazz combo. However, these songs cannot be classified as neoclassical or part of any vintage revival. They embody a new vision.
ζ≡        Fear Not draws from Blake’s experiences both musically and personally. Originally a violinist, he received a Masters degree in performance from the Peabody Institute of Music in 2007. After a near breakdown from the rigors of his Conservatory training, Blake found a new freedom of expression in song writing and was inspired by the great 60’s folk troubadours. He also found a home in the Baltimore arts scene making music that was reflective of the city’s quirky mix of Southern hospitality, ‘Hon’ culture and the inescapable confrontation of systemic poverty. He put his ear to the ground and honed his ability to tell a good story; once sleeping outside with the homeless, sitting next to John Waters in a dive bar and belting away in a storefront church into the early hours of the morning.
ζ≡        From its opening moments onwards, Fear Not is clearly an album filled with love. Made with love. The antidote to fear.
ζ≡        “I had just released Alone On The World Stage and I didn’t have any idea where to go next. My life was completely full. I had so little time to write with two children and a full~time job. I think I wrote most of these songs while standing at the sink doing the dishes.”
ζ≡        From its opening moments onwards, Fear Not is clearly an album filled with love. Made with love. The antidote to fear.
ζ≡        “Whilst many of his contemporaries have been content to just drop something into the contribution box from time to time, Cameron Blake hasn’t hesitate in taking up the banner of 60s protest folk, giving voice to the victims through personal and intimate storylines. This one man show deserves a standing ovation.” — Folk Radio UK
ζ≡        “For me it’s just obvious, if a better record than Cameron Blake’s ‘Alone On The World Stage’ has appeared this year, than I haven’t heard it.” CTRLALTCOUNTRY (Five Stars)
ζ≡        “Cameron Blake is an adept fingerpicker, seemingly able to conjure full orchestras of sound from those six strings.” — Clash Magazine
by William Elgin, Venst Magazine., RJ Frometa  November 20, 2017
ζ≡        The heartfelt nature of Cameron Blake’s art comes honestly. There’s no self conscious framing of sentiment and drama — he’s seen life’s peaks and valleys from surviving a near nervous breakdown during his tenure studying violin at the Peabody Institute of Music to the satisfying and demanding glories of experiencing fatherhood. His music contains a rare quality in popular music. The quality is empathy and his talent as a songwriter for being able to place himself inside of any experience and produce memorable artistic results. He doesn’t restrict himself either. There’s no subject that doesn’t fall within Blake’s wheelhouse and the fantastic music he crafts to carry his lyrical explorations are every bit as rich and powerfully moving. There are few musical experiences today as complete as Fear Not and it will surely elevate Blake’s reputation to loftier than ever heights.
ζ≡        Few albums you’ll hear in 2017 have a more impressive opening. Putting one confident foot forward, Blake begins the album with its title track and we have an immediate statement of purpose. There’s a connotation that comes with artists opening their albums with the title track based around that idea that it is, customarily, a pivotal number somehow defining the release as a whole. It certainly seems to be the case here. “Fear Not:” is a beautifully crafted, sumptuous ballad hinging largely on the piano playing and deriving much of its would~be grandeur from the classical implications of its arrangement. Blake does a superb job bringing classical influences together with pop in such a way that they complement and enrich each other while still maintaining an interesting sonic tension. “The Only Diamond” is another of the album’s breathtaking peaks as Blake unleashes a wildly inventive arrangement that never comes off cluttered despite its abundance of ideas. While Blake’s training as a musician is firmly ground in playing instruments, his voice is a deceptively elegant instrument as well and the phrasing he brings to this material deserves noting for its nuance and dramatic depth.
ζ≡        “Fool’s Gold” is exquisite. It’s jaw~dropping, carefully wrought, and impossibly atmospheric. It never overstates itself however — there’s no gaudy, outsized moment of musical madness to draw listeners in but, instead, a considered and structure piece that nevertheless doesn’t come off too plotted out. The mix of piano, spectral organ, and Blake’s versatile singing is enough to carry the song alone. “Tiananmen Square” is another marquee number on Fear Not and certainly does a first class job with characterization. There’s no wasted motion either musically or lyrically and the seamless it shows in coming together is rare even on an album of this quality. One can’t ever accuse Blake of playing it safe. There’s definitely a light Americana/folk feel with the track “Old Red Barn” reminiscent of the earlier “After Sally”, but Blake has a strong enough artistic sensibility that he can’t resist tweaking that traditional sound and stripping it down to its most essential elements. The less is more principle driving much of the album’s song craft is a service to Cameron Blake’s vision and makes it more memorable as a result. The track “Philip Seymour Hoffman” shows his capacity for surprise as his skills with character development in song take on a practically novelistic turn and, delightfully, reveal as much about Blake as they do his subject matter. The artistry and range of emotion defining Fear Not is truly revelatory; we had plenty of notice that Blake is a major talent, but this marks that moment in the careers of a choice few major talents when their talents take them straight out of the stratosphere and into rarefied air.
YOU TUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwEYXORtSOg
ζ≡        http://ventsmagazine.com/
Mindy McCall, NOVEMBER 27, 2017
ζ≡        http://nodepression.com/album-review/cameron-blake-fear-not
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cameronblakesongwriter/
Website: http://www.cameronblakemusic.com/
CD Baby: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/cameronblake2
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/cameronblakemusic

Cameron Blake — Fear Not (Jan 26, 2018)


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