Douglas Cameron
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Douglas Cameron

Boise, Idaho, United States | INDIE

Boise, Idaho, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Singer/Songwriter

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""From no strings to Nashville""

Whiskey-Ginger is the drink of the evening as I sit with local singer/songwriter Douglas Cameron discussing his musical career and upcoming tours. Cameron is a passionate singer and talented guitar player who got his start when he traded He-Man's in the third grade for his first electric guitar, which had no strings.

Coaxed to go see Cameron by one of his fans, I was transfixed after the first few bars of his impassioned vocals and extraordinary skill on the guitar. Since then, I've seen him several times and discovered that each show is as a unique and engaging as Cameron himself.

Originally from Colorado, Cameron moved with his family to Moscow, Idaho, when he was 9, and it was at age 12 that his mother deemed him worthy of a "real guitar," which she purchased for him through a rent-to-own plan. "From there, it just became an obsession," Cameron recalls of his beginnings, "I just wanted to play. It made me feel alive."

Cameron has unquestionably proven how far he has come from just plucking open strings in succession because he couldn't make a chord. After playing with the likes of the Pam Tillis Band in Nashville and getting aired on Tennessee country music station WANT-FM, Douglas attributes the current direction his career has taken to having the right team behind him.

"I always tried to do everything on my own. For a career in music, you can't do it on your own, so I asked for help, and now I have this team around me that has given me that oomph," he said.

From friend and executive producer Chad Thomas, to new management team Lewis Management and Booking, Cameron's team has created an unstoppable momentum. With a return trip to Nashville scheduled for June to play with Darin Favorite (Shania Twain's former guitar player), Cameron has big plans for this summer, including a full schedule touring through numerous states. When asked about where he sees himself beyond that, he says, "I just wanna play. Honestly, I don't even think about it. I believe it's all planned out and I'm just riding the wave. When I start thinking about the future, I put too much pressure on myself, and ever since my dad passed away, I try to live in the moment as much as I can, 'cause that's all we have."

Throughout the excitement surrounding him, Cameron sticks to his roots. From a couple of his first high school bands—Bad Vibes and The Naked Nuns—to Stranger Neighbor (his band after graduation), the Douglas Cameron Band still has some of the same faces. Longtime collaborator John Fricke (vocals/trumpet/bass) and Casey Miller (bass/producer) have been playing alongside Douglas since the days of Stranger Neighbor. Now with the precision of drummer Jacob Florence and the dexterity of Australian Chris Riches on guitar, the Douglas Cameron Band has been able to turn it up a notch at home and on the road.

Touring is not a foreign concept to Cameron. After five years on the road with Stranger Neighbor, Cameron went solo in 2003. Logging over 8,000 miles on that tour, he says the long hours on the road are time for him to reflect on his music: "While I would prefer being with friends, I'm OK with being alone." But Cameron is still intoxicated by performing in front of a live audience, "It never gets old, it just gets better," he said.

With a self-proclaimed style of "folk-rock with a twinge of country," Cameron's music is a unique and versatile combination that still manages to carry with it the familiarity of the traditional folk-rock genre. The intimate nature of Cameron's music creates a mesmerizing and lasting connection to his songs. The bittersweet lyrics in songs like "Afterthought" shed light into his world: "Back there is where I left my last goodbye/this afterthought of you and its bittersweet demise/If anyone asks I've got something in my eyes/Was I wrong to hope, for us it's all I have left and it's dying/If I said I didn't miss you I'd be lying."

Cameron says the inspiration for his songs comes from places most people have been: "Things I've lived through, things that make me feel like complete shit, things that make me feel completely high. What I think love is and what it should be in my own head." Whether it's from using parts of his father's poems in the song "Remedies for Remembering" (from his 2006 release Remedies) or dramatizing an encounter with a thief in "Finding You," each of Cameron's songs relates a personal tale of life's struggles and triumphs. "My songs are ways of me dealing with things in real life and getting emotions out that way. [My songs] are like my psychiatrist," he says. "I can spill everything out ... and then own it. If I can write it, then I can feel the passion."

As evidenced by the crowds at his shows and the commercial success of Remedies, his appeal has left fans with an appetite for more. With plans for a new acoustic record containing three new studio songs and five to six songs from his February tour with Fricke, and a new Douglas Cameron Band album currently in the works, fans will be able to journey with Cameron down the next roads in life.

As a familiar fixture in the local music scene for the past few years, fans have become confident in knowing that they can catch Douglas at one of his solo or full band shows in Boise. However, we can no longer take for granted that we will have the convenience of enjoying Cameron's music so frequently from our hometown with his increasing popularity and demand for live shows outside of this state. So go down to the Bouquet this Saturday, grab a Whisky-Ginger, and relish in the poetically satisfying experience Douglas Cameron creates while we can still call him our own.

- Julie Gunderson


""Driving a dry drunk to drink" Douglas Cameron ain’t a pretty boy"

Have you watched CMT lately? It’s like watching models lip synch to music that fringes on pop, which is far removed from the country format. The best country comes from outside the Nashville scene from artists who are willing to settle for less to retain their integrity. One such artist is singer/songwriter Douglas Cameron. Like Steve Earl, Cameron writes from the deepest recesses of his mind. Sure, he pens a good love song, but his tunes don’t have a slick, glossy makeover, and he ain’t a pretty boy either.

Cameron’s passion for music came at an early age.

“My family first got cable in late ‘83, so I saw the birth of MTV,” Cameron explains. “I had always loved music, but actually seeing it performed proved too powerful for me. In third grade I traded a kid at school a bunch of He-Man toys for a stringless electric he had. I soon traded that up to another electric, and away I went.”

His most adventurous band in the mid ’90s was called Stranger Neighbor.
“I made a serious run at it in this band, toured everywhere west of Milwaukee and had a great time,” he says. “I wrote a majority of the tunes — influences of pop and funk, rock and jam music.”

Despite the release of four independent records of which they sold 10,000, by 2003 the magic and the energy was all but depleted, and Cameron went solo.

“My dad listened to country while I was growing up; I wasn’t a fan. I was a young rocker,” Cameron admits. “I came back to Idaho a few years ago and discovered what great stories they were telling in country songs. As a songwriter, I tend to be introspective and write about things I’ve been through, but I wanted to try something new.” After listening to more Southern rock and classic country, Cameron found a new and exciting direction to take his music.

Cameron describes his sound as “diving into a whiskey bottle and hoping for the best.” The Boise, Idaho, native pegged it with that description as he can drive a dry drunk to drink with one strum of his acoustic guitar. To date, Cameron has released three discs: The Consequence of My Choices (2004), Crossed the Colorado Line (2005) EP, and his latest, Remedies (2006), which proves to be his best so far.

“There is definitely more of (a) roots feel on this record, and the songwriting and arranging took a step up from previous efforts,” he says.

If Cameron stays true to his art, he might never win a CMA, but he will be an artist who demands respect. - Tony Englehart Weekly Volcano


"CD Review "REMEDIES""

Singer-guitarist Cameron wants to play with the big boys. So the ex-Stranger Neighbor frontman spent some bucks and recorded this CD in a high-end Boise studio. Rich instrumentation ranging from organ to fiddle paints a honey-sweet backdrop for his amiable vocals. This disc has the sort of all-American roots feel that makes Triple A radio programmers smile. (Local FM station "The River" has been spinning opening pop-rocker "Half Bottle.")
A burgeoning storyteller, Cameron sounds most comfortable when he reveals a Western edge, which he's nurtured since moving to Boise from Seattle in 2004. Country influences come into focus on standouts such as the bouncing, piano-enriched "Finding You" and the guitar and fiddle frolic "Remedies For Remembering".
Several less twangy tunes are predictably mid-paced but pleasant. It's a songwriting sameness that isn't all bad: Exuding honesty, Cameron's Everyman voice has across-the-board romantic appeal, particularly when he's dispensing passion-red lyrical bouquets like "Everything about you still makes me burn."
- Michael Deeds -The Scene, Idaho Statesman


"Douglas Cameron: Lessons In Life"

Douglas Cameron at 9 years old: He only wanted a guitar.

Douglas Cameron at 29: He only needs a guitar.

Somewhere between the day a 9-year-old Cameron traded his toy collection for an old electric guitar- a naked, stringless, ampless guitar- and the release of "The Consequence of My Choices," life happened. And when life happens to a poet who happens to strum a soothing, comforting acoustic guitar, we can simply count ourselves lucky, thanks, in part, to Cameron's luckless moments, which oddly find a way to stretch that smile.

If you crave a pillow-soft song to rock your weary head, hold your broken heart and tell you it's okay to cry and dream of highs, visit Cameron. If you crave a love song that reminds you why love's worth writing about, sit with Cameron.

"I need to experience what I'm writing about for me to feel like it's true," the sometimes heart-broken, always searching, always deeply contemplating Cameron said, chain-smoking from a Ha' Penny Bridge bar
stool.

"All my friends tell me I'm a pretty private person, but they say, 'When we hear your tunes, we know where you're at.'" Whoever said that "in struggle we find strength" and that "what does not kill you only makes you stronger" speaks with a Cameron lyric in mind.

Give thanks to raw, poignant songwriting. Give thanks to Cameron's gentle unadulterated musicianship that purely allows Cameron's sentimental words to shine."You can only do so many chord progressions. For me, the lyrics really do it," Cameron said.

Two-fourths of Cameron's University of Idaho college band, Stranger Neighbor, which gained a sizeable Boise following during the late 1990's, join Cameron on "The Consequence of My Choices". The band layers drums, percussioin, bass and itermittent keyboards in a style reminiscent of "Stranger Neighbors'" resonating melodies and involved harmonies.

The Stranger Neighbor line-up cut a few albums, put Cameron on the road for five some years and enventually landed the songwriter in Denver- a good home base for touring and a perfect location to spill "mountian songs," Cameron said. Between here and there, Cameron settled in Phoenix for some time and Seattle, where he assumed anything but the artist's life, yet found plenty of material.

"That's when my life lessons came into play... I got into the corporate rat race and the money was good, but I just wasn't happy. And I'd get off work and think, I have to go back and do it again tomorrow. Life's too short."

Cameron's "Content" emerged from that time with a lonely, freedom-seeking force that leans heavily, like much of "The Consequence of My Choices", toward Cameron's Dave Matthews, The Samples, Nine Days, and Toad the Wet Sprocket influences. "Content" and the rest of Cameron's 10 track catalog showcases his fluid, controlled voice as it flows from range to range with the dexterity of a Glen Phillips. And these days, that's mostly what you'll get on stage: a strong voice plus solid acoustic accompaniment.

"Now it's me and an acoustic. But that's how all my songs are written," Cameron said, noting the lyrics and chord progressions that serve as the skeleton and the backbone of Cameron's work.

Cameron still hooks up with Stranger Neighbor alumni now and then and brought drummer Casey Miller on board for the "The Consequence of My Choices," as a co-producer and engineer. But with the corporate life long gone, and former band mates scattered, the new solo artist has called Boise home for all of 30 days.

"Every time I came back to Boise with Stranger Neighbor, I always felt at home here." And the search for contentment was at least partly responsible for the move. "That's been a search for a long time and I feel like I'm getting close to it here."

The songwriter, who usually marked each New Year's Day as another passing day on the calender, found a new beginning and a full plate of musical endavors with 2004: A scattering of tours with Matt Moon are the in plans, along with an ambitious project that involves setting music to some of Cameron's late father's poetry. "My mom said he only wrote when he was lonely... I think most of the time (poetry and songwriting) have to come from not feeling like things are right. I have to write music to get through it. It's my therapy."
- Thrive Magazine, The Idaho Statesman - Carissa Wolf


"CD review: Ever Since You Left"

Boise singer-songwriter Douglas Cameron has been on an aggressive run. In 2006, he made trips to Los Angeles in an attempt to make industry contacts.
He spent money locally advertising his last CD, "Remedies," which received regional radio play. Last month, he even gigged for thousands at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado.

In between, Cameron found time to record this nine-song CD in Boise, Seattle and Denver. Although Cameron sounded comfortable on "Remedies" — a more elaborately produced yet twangier album —the guitar-bass-drums appeal here is undeniable. It's as if Cameron found his voice by simplifying, even if he's discovered over the past decade that playing music for a living is anything but.

Anthemic guitar-rocker "Runnin' Out of Jackson" is buoyant yet spiked with self-loathing, hinting at Cameron's fondness for the Drive-By Truckers: "Ever since you left, I can't get it right," he confesses. "I'll be drunk again on my whiskey tonight."

Except he has gotten it right.

These heartfelt acoustic tunes and rootsy rockers make you want to hear them jammed live. Guitarist Glenn Esparza (Little Women, Jerry Joseph) elevates several songs with spot-on playing.

But even without him in Cameron's everyday backing band, delicate love songs such as "Want To" and easygoing riff-rockers like "Year Round November" should sparkle on stage. Cameron is obviously on a mission these days; this CD is proof.

- Micheal Deeds


"Performing Songwriter DIY Top 12 Picks"

Doulglas Cameron
Remedies
Featured Download: “Remedies for Remembering” MP3

Douglas Cameron is a man of musical contradictions. Remedies, the latest offering from the Idaho native, contains an assortment of seemingly disparate musical elements that make for an exhilaratingly fresh result.

“Half Bottle” juxtaposes blistering blues-rock guitar solos with pop-rock choruses. “Remedies for Remembering” pits upbeat bluegrass fiddle in the choruses against a ska-flavored guitar line in the verse. “Drove All Night Through Utah” combines straight-up country pedal steel with a reference to LL Cool J, and “Let Me Show You How” turns a potential heartbreak into a song of strength.

Cameron’s casual delivery and catchy melodies glue the record nicely together, and the energetic sound will have you kicking up dust on the dance floor. Remedies will cure what ails you.

douglascameron.net

Mare Wakefield
- Performing Songwriter


Discography

2004- Consequence of My Choices
2005- Crossed The Colorado Line EP
2006- Remedies
2007-Ever Since You Left

~RADIO~
KCUV-Denver CO ~ Remedies for Remembering
Runnin' Out of Jackson
KCMV-Denver CO ~ Remedies for Remembering
KSPN-Aspen CO ~ Remedies for Remembering
KXMV-Vail CO ~ Remedies for Remembering
KFMU-Steamboat Springs CO~ Remedies for Remembering
KRFC-Ft. Collins CO~ Let Me Show You How
KVRB_Boise ID ~ Half Bottle
~ Runnin' Out Of Jackson
NIXA COUNTRY Internet ~ Let Me Show You How
Runnin' Out Of Jackson
Want To
Rearranged Me
How Naive I've Been

Photos

Bio

Douglas Cameron has been building a national audience for over a decade, and the release of his new album "Ever Since You Left" finds the singer/songwriter making another leap forward in his art and his career. Emerging from inevitable transistions in life, Cameron has evolved into a passionate and accomplished musician, working non-stop for years on his craft. Radio play on Boise, ID, Denver, CO, and Nashville, TN stations is building Cameron's audience daily, and his potent live shows make average fans into fans for life. Adding to the list of accomplishments within the last few months: playing in Nashville with the Pam Tillis Band, and taking center stage at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado with his band. Backed by the talented Rich Ross (bass), Casey Miller (drums), and John Fricke (guitar), Douglas is ready to hit the road in support of "Ever Since You Left".