Cameron Blake - With Strings: Live
Performing live with an orchestra is not a new concept, however, Cameron has chosen a more subtle approach and uses a String Quartet and percussion section to fill out his eclectic brand of folky art house music. Cameron is no stranger to the use of strings in his music. In fact, the violin plays an important role in his songs. On this live recording, the string quartet builds into each song creating an epic jazziness that is emotionally stirring and grandiose.
Songs like "Baby Come Home" and "The Love Song Never Died" get a fuller sound while retaining their playfulness. I'm not sure how, but "Hudson Line" feels even more heart-breaking and "This Is All" just sounds huge. Cameron's stirring cover of Randy Newman's "Baltimore" ends with a jazzy interlude by the quartet and percussion sections that plays into the next song. A nice touch.
I tend to overlook Live albums, having been burned a few times with poor productions. For me, a live album has to truly stand out or else it's no better then a greatest hits album. Here, Cameron has provided a collection of great songs in a live setting with just the right nuances to make it stand alone as an album I'd listen to outside of his studio recordings. The production is also top notch. The instruments are clear and can be heard individually, yet there is still the rawness of the live setting captured exceptionally.
If you're already familiar with Cameron Blake's music, then you are guaranteed to enjoy "With Strings: Live". If you're new, then this is just as good a place to start with as "En Route" or "Hide And Go Seek"
Check out some samples at Cameron Blake website here and MySpace Page