En Route, the second album from singer/songwriter Cameron Blake, is a refreshingly unique masterpiece. Although the Baltimore musician has his master’s in violin performance, he is clearly a man of many talents. With fantastic orchestrations from the young musician, the album will take you on a journey paved not only with violin, but beautiful vocals, piano, harmonica, cello, and acoustic guitar, to name a few. In the beginning of your listening experience, you may find yourself struggling to pin him down under one genre. The album is a smooth combination of acoustic, pop, blues, and largely folk sound. It would do him an injustice to not give him credit for his wide range of appeal. Let’s just label him as this: “talented.”
It’s hard to compare Blake to any one other artist, but fans of everyone from Dave Matthews to The Swell Season will surely enjoy this record. The album opens with “This is All,” a track that instantly makes you feel like you are listening to a rebellious poet in the bottom of a dark jazz club. Farther along on the record is “On the Way to Jordan,” which is more than suitable for a pub set in the heart of Dublin. A favorite is “Interlude,” a slower-paced song that would be fantastic on the soundtrack of an indie flick. The piano and delicate harmonies will chill you to the bone in the same way as the painfully beautiful songs written by Damien Rice.
Blake provides fascinating vocals through out the album, sometimes emanating a similar sound to Ben Gibbard from Death Cab for Cutie. There is a pleasant clarity in his vocals that allows the listener to enjoy his unique lyrics. In “Lonely Rooms” he writes, “I held her marigold smile-apple scent rain through slanting silver-lines/ I am the prince and the fool-survived by a breath, a thread, a single room.” Pure poetry.
If you decide to check out one independent artist this year, make sure it’s Cameron Blake. With excellent musicianship, thoughtful writing, and exceptional vocals, you won’t be disappointed.