Cam Penner: Trouble & Mercy

~ Monday, 22 February 2010
Canadian Penner is one of those fiercely independent artists untouched by the big wheel of the music industry that ploughs his lone furrow with considerable skill. This is his third album release, the first that I have heard and after listening to it I can't wait to track down the other two. Penner sings and writes with a conviction, passion and beauty that is missing from much of today's music. The music is Americana but it has the depth and soul to appeal far beyond those boundaries. Penner really has created something quite beautiful.

All Of Yesterday provides our introduction with its gentle guitar pickin' and subtle vocal harmonies that lay down the Americana roots that are the heart of this wonderful album. The beautifully atmospheric Thirteen is a sparse tale of Penner's 'lucky number' that you could imagine the late Johnny Cash covering in one of his sessions with Rick Rubin.

The songs contained here were written while Penner was on the road for 6 month of touring and he has taken his experiences, the sights, sounds and the characters of that period and turned them into a palette of stories that have no trouble in securing themselves into your soul. This really is a wonderful, evocative and passionate record. She's In My Head is as uplifting as the lyrics are downbeat, a road trip transposed into music. Too Tired to Pray is achingly beautiful and the perfect showcase for Penner's simple and soothing vocals while Once A Soldier shows his ability as a storyteller and easily puts him up their with Loudon Wainwright III or Tom Paxton.

If You Love Somebody may just edge it for me as the standout track but with an album of this quality it is liable to change with every listen. This record has caught me completely by surprise and has touched me in ways that music rarely does. This is 46 minutes of honesty and beauty that is quite simply wonderful.

[][][][][] (5/5)