Cameron Knowler: Places of Consequence (American Dreams Records, 2021)

September 7, 2021 at 7:13 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Cameron Knowler: Places of Consequence

Guitarist Cameron Knowler’s new album primarily consists of short, impressionistic compositions which make up a vivid picture of the American West. Equally proficient in jazz, folk, bluegrass, and experimental idioms, he plays in a warm, technically accomplished manner, and all of the tracks on this album have different purposes and moods. A sparse, delicate cover of “I’m an Old Cowhand” opens the album, sounding intimate and inviting, like you’re just happening upon him playing curled up on the couch in his living room. “Sonora Road” is a shuffling ode to his hometown accompanied by the flatfoot dancing of Erica Braverman. “Supertone Biome” is more of an aquatic tone poem than a song, just hinting at a submerged mood. “Done Gone” is actually a fiddle tune played on guitar, and it sounds like it even if you aren’t familiar with the song itself. “Don Bishop A” is a down-home lullaby, and “Atelier de Stein” works as a short, jazzy coda to it. “Cat Spring” starts as a leisurely banjo pluck before he picks up the pace with an almost nautical guitar version of the same tune. There’s another song played on banjo (“Lone Prairie”) and one with mandolin (“Lena’s Spanish Fandango”), but he’s such a versatile player that some of the guitar numbers sound like the other instruments and vice versa; he finds a common language in the instruments and adapts his style to them.

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