This is a very thoughtful and in some respects mystical album from Cameron Blake a classically trained music scholar now resident in Michigan. The album consists of twelve songs all written by Blake who is also the co-producer here. The tracks cover a wide subject range and lyrics are clever and sensitive. The album kicks off with the title track Fear Not featuring Blake on piano with viola, cello and upright bass accompaniment and strings. A love song of sorts the song is finished with choir backing the classical training of the artist clearly coming through.
To show that he can mix it up Queen Bee is a slightly schizophrenic fast paced piece with a hint of the 1920’s about it. Possibly the best song on show is Tiananmen Square a piece about the famous “tank man” of the 1989 event – if you don’t know about him do Google it – it really is an iconic image of the time. There is also homage to the late actor Philip Seymour Hoffman in the song of the same name.
The album is nicely put together and there is clearly deep musical knowledge and talent on show but whilst you have a feeling of really wanting to like the CD it is, in reality hard to get excited about as a whole or indeed in respect of any of the individual tracks.
Sensitive offering that just fails to satisfy
I am sorry that Mr. Farley cannot get excited about a CD that I cannot stop playing. I am reminded of the fact that, in the early days, “Rolling Stone Magazine” could never really get into Led Zeppelin, either. Cameron Blake’s songs may not be the type of music you are likely to hear on pop radio, but this is in part due to his brilliant lyricism and a depth of musicianship that makes the typical pop song seem like thin, tasteless gruel in comparison. I urge you to listen to Blake yourself and see if you are not drawn irresistibly into his whirlpool of romance and social conscience. “Moonlight in a Jar” is one of the most beautiful songs you will ever hear, and it cries out for a cover version from Andra Day, who is the only other singer I can think of who could do it justice.
Mr. Farley has missed the mark on this one as Cameron Blake’s “Fear Not” is a tour de force in what I would term Nuovo Art Folk music. Blake’s subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) musical nuances in both voice and musical expression is a treat for the ears, mind, and heart. The second cut (After Sally), is an absolute gem of musical storytelling that highlights Blake’s refined ability to lyrically convey vignettes of a mans life while offering the aural delights of a gloriously sonorous atmosphere. Another track that sweeps one into another world is “Wailing Wall”, a strikingly beautiful lament using various string motives and women’s choir that evokes melancholy while still retaining hope. Magnificent in sound and word!
Not knowing what Michael Farley’s fundamental benchmarks are for musical satisfaction, I believe that he should give this CD another listen. There just might be more fulfillment in there than was experienced the first go-around. It certainly was for this listener and I believe it will be for many of Americana UK’s readers as well. Trust me – do not miss this one.
IT’s so nice to see different listeners chime in and say what an album means to them regardless of what a review might say. And it’s especially refreshing when they are mature, well written and non-confrontational. Well done to all of you guys who took the time to share what you think of an album that I think is beautiful and grows on me more and more. cheers!
Personally I feel like the review reads quite positively and begins putting me exactly where I want to be as I begin to speed-read so that I can hurry up and listen, which I did. Only later did I see a possibly mismatched review # versus actual review tone.
Anyway, Mr. Farley, I’m sure in the limited time you have to review so many releases, you did what you could. Yet as much as I’ve learned that this album has grown on me tremendously, I too, can recommend it’s worth a few more quiet solitary listens – maybe away from (the) work computer too. cheers.