Old school street corner acoustic guitar jams.
Easily one of the more unique albums I’ve stumbled across in 2021 is Cameron Knowler’s ‘Places of Consequence’. Acting as a history of American acoustic guitar jams that chronicle folk times on desert plans, Cameron wields his acoustic guitar like a book. Dancing from chapter to chapter as he switches tone, Knowler takes on the trails and the plains and a cowboy life with gusto.
Different tracks bend to different ilks. ‘Days Gone’ feels like it’s straight out of a Western standoff. ‘Sonora Road’ has beautifully intricate fingerwork that feels lush and bountiful as the melody unravels before you. ‘Don Bishop’ is blues through and through. Central piece ‘Cat Spring’ brings in a wiry banjo to clunk and cluck its way through a desert plod under the summer sun. When paired with the desert ride of ‘I’m An Old Cowhand’ or ‘Lone Prarie’, Cameron’s American folklore shines.
Towards the end of the album, Cameron Knowler veers into Mexican flairs. ‘Puerto Suelo’ plays the guitar like a drum alongside very loose, free and easy strumming. ‘Lena’s Spanish Fandango’ also nods towards country fair ideals too. Most of the tracks are over within two and a bit minutes so you get to travel the desert with the acoustic guitar at pace. Some of the pieces feel like ideas rather than fully formed twists on tradition sadly. ‘Motoring Addiction’ I was hoping to break out the surfer rock jives but it is over before it starts for example.
Very much a niche title but warm and full of nostalgic whimsy, I’d love to hear what Cameron Knowles would do with an album of intricate and meshed melodies that express his desert upbringing. His minimalism feels at times a little throwaway but I’ve also not come across music in such a simple and pure form on record like this for some time. One for the purest folk music lovers.
Recommended track: Sonora Road
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