The mark of a truly great vocalist is the ability to move an audience without musical accompaniment. I’ve heard some of my favorite singers such as Margo Timmins (Cowboy Junkies), Bonnie Prince Billy, Joni Mitchell and Pat LePoidevin throw down a solo a capella performance on album and at live shows with staggering effects, but I’ve never heard anyone do a whole album of this nature–that was until this past March. Last February vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Duncan Cameron recorded an album entitled Unaccompanied Songs My Father Sang, a collection of 12 traditional/folk songs recorded as solo vocal performances. One might think that such an album could sound rather sparse and boring. Anyone thinking such has obviously never heard Duncan Cameron sing before. His full bodied, warm tenor is rich with emotion and is versatile enough to hold the interest of the listener with it’s vibrato and colorful inflections as is evident from today’s track “The Blooming Bright Star of Belle Isle.”
Although Duncan’s album remains an unofficial RPM submission, as it did not meet the requirement of being original music, it is officially one of my favorites from last February. It exhibits a level of musicianship and sheer beauty that is undeniable and compelling whether you are a fan of traditional music or not. Duncan will be hosting a night of traditional music 9pm this Wednesday (Oct 24th) at The Ship. Drop by and check it out to hear more from him and other amazing local artists.