|Saturday 09 January 2016 @ 09:00pm : -
In a complicated world, Cam Penner finds beauty in simplicity, with an honest, spare approach to folk music that is refreshing in an age filled with so much insincerity and irony. Singing uncompromising songs about redemption and truth, his is a voice for the disenfranchised, a storyteller for those who never reach their destination. The symphony of sound and lyricism showcase the inevitable evolution of a growing artist. It''s folk. It''s rock n'' roll. It''s Cam Penner. Breathing fire into every note and lyric.
Look no further than the titled track of the new album ''To Build a Fire'' to understand Cam Penner. "I''ve got to know that you''ll make it through the night, make it through the day, that you''ll make it out alive, that you''ll always have water running down the mountain side, always have shelter, know to build a fire." This album is a rallying call. It reaches out, boldly and courageously into present-day existence.
His fifth and soon to be released new album, ''To Build a Fire'', finds Penner exploring new textures and bolder sounds. Though more stripped down than 2011''s Gypsy Summer, Cam Penner finds new textures and bolder sounds on his fifth release. The fractured rootsy persona still creeps in but this is not a depressing album. ''To Build a Fire'' is full of hope. It''s full of love. It''s electrifying and provoking. It''s full of everything we should be looking for, not only musically, but in life.
The lush beauty of the opening brass track lures you in but leaves you wondering what is to come...then it begins. Ukuleles, guitars, banjos strummed. Floorboards stomped. Kick drums kicked. Feet stumbled. Thighs, knees, hands slapped and clapped. Voices strained and bent. Fingers gripped, grabbed and picked. Arms and hands flung. Body and sound thrown against wood and metal.
Cam Penner''s last album, WCMA Nominated "Gypsy Summer" debuted at number 16 on the FOLK BILLBOARD Charts. It was featured along with a full interview on NPR''s ''All Music Considered'' and toured the album through both Eastern & Western Canada, UK, Scotland, the Netherlands, Germany and France. Through constant touring and promotion Cam Penner has sold over 5000 copies of ''Gypsy Summer''.
At eighteen Penner left small town life to wander the highways and back roads of North America. A year later he found himself in Chicago serving mystery soup and stale bread to two hundred and fifty homeless men a day. Next, a women & children''s shelter, then youth shelters and detox centers. For thirteen years he immersed himself in this subculture absorbing as much raw humanity as he could. When the shift was over he would spend endless cathartic hours writing and playing his guitar, exorcising his emotions through music. After becoming a self-taught expert on homelessness, he decided to become a full time touring artist, meanwhile becoming homeless himself.
Cam Penner has carved his own path. Music born from the soil and sin of this world.
"A Grizzly Bear of an album with a heart of an Ox." ~ Maverick Magazine
"....a stunning album unlike anything else on the block." ~ Acoustic Magazine
"Powerful images, possessed by a discordant beauty." ~ The Georgia Straight
"This is an astonishing release from a true innovator. If anything defines the panoramic spectrum of great American music, this does!" ~ R2 Magazine
"...crackles with the intensity of creation as a need, art without artifice, and expression in its most purest, fiercest form." ~ Calgary Herald
"Impassioned, thought provoking, and hard hitting." ~ No Depression
"More inventive and expansive than previous offerings...an honest, wide-eyed worldview." ~ Folk Radio UK
"Extraordinary" ~ American Roots UK
"Penner''s soulful voice carries the weight of a world at the edge of redemption and revival. With songs about love, exploration, and change, he has found a way to both calm and ignite the spirit simultaneously." ~ Vancouver Weekly
"Excellent and gutsy" ~ Americana UK
"It’s Captain Beefheart experimenting with folk, David Crosby unleashed, Woody Guthrie reincarnated" ~ Folk Words
"If music had a quota system, then the category of singer-songwriter would be closed due to overcrowding. Thankfully there isn''t, because Cam Penner and his emotional songs of lives lived and experiences endured and enjoyed deserve to be heard in all their stoical splendour." ~ Irish Times
"In a world of lonesome, troubled troubadours, Cam Penner should be king." ~ Americana UK
"He''s a really intelligent writer who finds so many different ways to engage our attention in the course of a four minute song, and, for that, cry hosannah! The heart of the music remains personal and intimate - folk music, in fact. What does happen, time and again, is that you feel surprised at where you''ve been led, each song becoming broader and deeper in its scope than you could imagine from the opening bars." ~ John (Buiscuits & gravy) Davy, Flyin'' Shoes Review
"...as heart-melting introductions to unknown artists go, it rarely gets more resonant and graceful than this. If this is what he''s capable of in future, you''re safe putting your trust in this guy." (Trouble & Mercy Review) ~ Whisperin & Hollerin
"There''s a freshness here outside comparisons that grabs me and demands attention." ~ Folkways KUT Austin Texas
"Penner''s determination and trust in his art and vision prove utterly, undeniably well-founded on Gypsy Summer. It''s an autumnal album, as honest and natural as the changing of the leaves, with Penner''s gruff, sure vocals an oak cask where his experiences have aged to pour out that muchmuch smoother. It''s undoubtedly his best effort to date, and certainly one of the best local albums of the year." ~ Mike Bell, Calgary Herald
"His sound now has a lot of the sound of his compatriot Neil Young working alongside the harder edged material and he has increased the density of his music and the power but somehow he hasn''t lost the delicacy and gentleness about his singing that has been so endearing for a few years now. I am hearing a man who is changing, keeping the essential qualities of his music but also finding new things to say and ways to say it." ~ Music-News.com
"Stunning" ~ The Daily Express Scotland
"I have listened to hundreds of artists so far this year, so when I say Trouble and Mercy is the best album I''ve heard so far, I really mean that. The songs come across in an honest and intrinsically beautiful way that allows the sentiment in each to strike you right in the chest. I heard every word of sorrow, weariness, love, truth and tale of everday life. Cam Penner is a storyteller from the Steinbeck / Jack London mould and if he had been around in the dustbowl era, he would have been singin'' alongside the likes of Woody Guthrie.....I can''t recommend this man enough, if you get a chance, go and see him and get Trouble and Mercy." ~ Folk Radio UK
"Cam Penner is the working man''s musician. He''s out there on the road, hoping beyond hope that his music, and all good music gets heard. His latest record, Gypsy Summer, finds Penner exploring new textures and bolder sounds, and even though his fractured rootsy persona still creeps into the mix, this isn''t a depressing record. Gyspy Summer is full of hope. It''s full of love. It''s full of everything we should be looking for, not only musically, but in life." ~ Bryan Acker, Hero Hill
"From the worn edge in his voice to the wired and sleepy guitar picking...the excellent songs and his stripped-down, folk Americana is straight forward and deceptively simple." ~ 4 STARS, MOJO Magazine
"This really is a wonderful, evocative and passionate record. This record has caught me completely by surprise and has touched me in ways that music rarely does. This is 46 minutes of honesty and beauty that is quite simply wonderful." ~ The Music Critic UK
"Cam''s new record, Trouble & Mercy is devastating. Throughout this 11-song gem, Penner proves he''s a fantastic song writer and formidable story teller. He speaks to the people as one of us. For Cam, each and every lyric comes from the bottom of his heart, but it could be about any of us." ~ Hero Hill