Track: Cameron Knowler – ‘Lena’s Spanish Fandango’: a tender and plaintive Americana air

Cameron Knowler. photographed by Laura Lee Blackburn

TEXAN solo guitar practitioner and melodicist Cameron Knowler – whose lovely, exploratory album with Eli Winter, Anticipation, we fully embraced in early March – has announced he’s to unveil his first solo album on American Dreams, Places Of Consequence, in mid-July.

To tempt you further into his world and to pique your curiosity – and if you love the Jack Rose. William Tyler, Imaginational Anthem aesthetic, you really should check out the two-hander with Eli, above, too – he’s dropped a second track from the new album, “Lena’s Spanish Fandango”, which we have here for you right now. Come up onto the porch, grab a pew. You’re welcome.

“Lena’s Spanish Fandango” is far more plaintive than the title may evidence, is lent a sadness with the little touches of quite a churchy organ; that old-time religion. A thoughtful and emotional two minutes in waltz time, it opens a window on generations past at our shoulder, looking in and informing a song which has a hallowed feel.

A tune often taught near the beginning of a fledgling guitarist’s education, Cameron says: “I sourced this version from the great Missouri guitarist, Lena Hughes, scoring it with mandolin and a Casio synth guitar on “organ” mode to place it in a liturgical context.

“I feel this synthetic component gives the tune a toy-like quality, inviting the listener to look back on their own histories.

“This concept is all part and parcel to the children’s book that is offered as a special edition art object for the first pressing of the record. It is also worth noting that Norman Blake, one of my biggest musical heroes, learned Spanish Fandango from his grandmother as his first introduction to guitar.” 

A lifelong Westerner and recent LA transplant, Cameron spent his childhood in Yuma, Arizona and Houston, Texas, where much of his learning was self-directed: riding dirt bikes in the desert, writing poetry, or visiting antique stores with his mother, who sold vintage glass beads. Aged seventeen, a bluegrass concert changed his life, and he began practicing guitar for twelve to sixteen hours a day, developing the quiet focus that permeates his music.

Look out for our review of Places Of Consequence on the morning of July 11th; it’s a deeply lovely record, of which we say: “Cameron’s debut set is nothing if not ambitious; it sets out to define his place, bound his settlement with his desert youth and the music he lives within and draws on.

“His knowledge and understanding of all these traditions is preternatural, his perception of the nuances of it far beyond his years.

“And it’s that core body in correspondence with the fragmentary, amplified vignettes that lend the record an extra sparkle; I am so this, he seems to say, and yet I am also wholly, wholly of this, too.

Places Of Consequence is a new music that presents as old as the hills, rooted and finding new atmospheric horizons

Cameron Knowler’s Places Of Consequence will be released by American Dreams on July 16th digitally, on limited CD, on trad black and mail-order exclusive yellow vinyl, and bundled with an accompanying children’s book; go browse your preferred options and place your order over at Bandcamp.

Connect with Cameron at his official website and on Instagram.

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