“When guitarist & singer-songwriter Cameron Austin takes his place in front of the microphone, he delivers a performance straight from the heart that sends a charge through the audience who came to hear music performed as it was meant to be performed - live.” (Brian Lockhart, Sideroads)
Cameron's folk-rock sound features percussive rhythms, peppered with latin, blues, jazz, country, and folk flavours.
His latest album, Seems To Me, is a perfect road trip - window down, wind in your hair, arms out the window, feet on the dashboard; freedom and escape with the heat and grittiness of asphalt and gravel . . .
Seems To Me, features such notable players as Kene Hyatt, Rick Roy, Stuart Steinhart, and Alyssa Wright. The album was mastered by Joao Carvalho and recorded with producer / engineer Gary Long who recently worked with Digging Roots on their JUNO award winning CD.
In the past, Cameron has also recorded & performed with Melissa McClelland (www.melissamcclelland.com) and JUNO award winner Erroll Starr (www.errollstarr.com).
Cameron Austin - guitars / vocals / harmonica
Rick Roy - percussion and fiddly things
Seems To Me (11 Track CD); 2010
One Moment Please (10 Track CD); 2007
Grade 8 Teacher Has Music in his Soul
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Conversation flows freely between tables as servers glide through the standing-room only crowd with ...Conversation flows freely between tables as servers glide through the standing-room only crowd with café au lait and designer desserts on trays during open mic night at the Groundswell Coffee House in Alliston. High school kids are drawn to the back, lounging in groups in a small alcove with comfortable chairs, while the older crowd takes the tables on the floor near the small stage where musicians entertain with three-song sets. The styles are different and the talent pool runs deep.
When guitarist, songwriter, and singer Cameron Austin takes his place in front of the microphone, he delivers a performance straight from the heart that sends a charge through the audience who came to hear music performed as it was meant to be performed - live. For Austin, writing and performing is a passion that consumes most of his free time. “I started playing when I was 13,” he says prior to going on stage for his set at Groundswell. “At first I wanted to be a drummer. Then I wanted to be a singer. I got my first guitar at Christmas. It was a Gibson SG knockoff . I took lessons for a while then stopped and started playing by ear.”
He continued to play through his teenage years but it was nothing much more than practice and jamming along with his favourite albums. He names late songwriter, Harry Chapin, as one of his earliest influences. “I remember being four years old and listening to Cats in the Cradle on a 45-RPM record.” The song and Chapin’s style of songwriting left an indelible mark that continues to this day. It was a move to Winnipeg after graduating from the University of Waterloo that rekindled his interest in music and ultimately led to the release of his first CD. “I ran into native-Canadian artist, Terry Widrick who was creating a CD of native flute music and he was looking for a guitar player. That was my first experience in a studio. It was interesting and completely new to me.”
After moving back to Ontario he continued to play the odd gig at small venues but earning a real living eventually became a necessity. “Reality sets in,” Austin says of trying to make money as a performer. “I had to make earning a living a priority. I still had to pay the bills.” After spending time at a job working with young off enders he went back to school and got his teaching certificate. “That put the music aside. For ten years I just questioned what I would do with my music. Up until two years ago I had no desire to write. It was around the Christmas holidays a couple of years ago I just sat down with my guitar and started writing. For whatever reason, it all came together. That first year I was just writing because it was a new process for me. I was still trying to figure it out. I wanted to put something out there that said ‘this is my work.’”
That two years of creative process provided enough original music to create his own CD. After contacting friend Erroll Starr, a Juno-Award winning artist, he made arrangements to start recording at Starr’s rural studio near Pembroke. The CD, titled One Moment Please, was recorded in a fourday marathon session with some help from friends who laid the tracks for percussion, bass, and keyboards. “It was my way of thrusting myself out to the world. I have no teenage aspirations of being famous,” he says with a smile. “There’s no pressure. I had these tracks that people enjoyed and I got good feedback from the CD.”
One Moment Please, has ten original guitar oriented tracks with a rhythmic feel and a Latin influence that seeps into several of the songs. From Night After Night, a lyrical ballad with some bite, to a fl uid track called The Falls, the CD creates a warm quality with bursts of energy. Continuing to write, Austin has enough new material to fi ll two new CDs. He occasionally tries out new songs on the students in his Grade 8 class at Alliston Union Public School. “Kids are honest. You can tell by their expressions if they like it,” he says. Finishing his three-song set at the Groundswell in a burst of six-string, rapid fire chords, the audience howls out its approval.
The Coffeehouse isn’t a quiet little venue with a captive audience. People come and go and conversation never really seems to stop. “I like performing here,” Austin says, gesturing to the room full of people. “The interaction with the audience - the talking. I enjoy this.” With a full repertoire of unrecorded tunes waiting to take shape in the studio, Austin’s next CD won’t have to wait very long.
Austin to release debut CD in Alliston
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Teacher Cameron Austin releases his debut CD next week in Alliston Influenced by world rhythms a...Teacher Cameron Austin releases his debut CD next week in Alliston
Influenced by world rhythms and inspired to create his first CD, Cameron Austin undertook an intensive four-day recording marathon in order to bring the project to fruition.
The result of this intense labour is One Moment Please, a mixture of strings and sentiment on ten original instrumental guitar and vocal tracks.
Austin, a Barrie resident, is a Grade 8 teacher at Alliston Union Public School by day.In his spare time, he has turned his passion for writing music into the special project he will unveil October 17, at 8 p.m.His CD release party is taking place at Groundswell Coffeehouse in Alliston, a favourite venue where he has been performing at open stage nights.
A reader of Russian literature, Austin began writing after realizing he wanted to do more doing than thinking.
"Being a first CD, I wanted to give an overview of experimentation with tone colour," Austin said, adding that it was his goal to keep the recording as organic as possible.
After a brief hiatus from music, Austin, who is also an environmentalist, often tried out his new tunes on students.He often edutained' the primary grades with the more up-tempo tunes.
He has incorporated Spanish influences to create flamenco style instrumentals and has included a number of acoustic and classical pieces.The CD, while it has retained the organic qualities Austin desired, is accented by bass, percussion, keyboard and Japanese flute.
While it was a guitar given as a Christmas gift in his youth that got Austin started on a path of musical creativity, he recalled his love of music started much earlier.At age four, his mother brought home a Harry Chapin's album, Cat's in the Cradle.It influenced him not only musically, but philosophically as well.Austin is fond of a quote of Chapin's in which he recounts his grandfather's words about two kinds of tired - the good-tired and bad-tired.
To record his CD last summer, Austin teamed up at the studio of Errol Starr (now Errol Francis), who won a Juno in 1986 for the hit song Angel.
Austin re-connected with him after ten years, having played guitar on a Starr recording years before.Austin is now looking forward to starting another project and to keeping the momentum going.Most of all, he is eager to share his labour of love.
"I had to do this to see what happens - to do it for myself.It's a good tired," he said.
Three 45 minute sets:
Set 1 (Nylon String): Rich People, Chai've, Two Saints In Love, Sacudo, Yo He No No, Night After Night, Me & Julio, Leave Me Alone, Judy's Deja Vu
Set 2 (Steel)
Between the Stones, That Old Love Song, Levon, Storm Winds & Lifeboats, Wallet Watch & Keys, 1975, Time Moves On, Seems To Me, Look For My Baby
Set 3 (Hollow-body electric)
Time Off, Music Lessons, Picture In My Pocket, Johnny Mac, Devil In My Soul, Nine Months, See You In the Summer
There are no upcoming dates at this time.