Cameron “Blake” Warne, known professionally as Cameron Blake, is working harder than ever and has a new album to show for it. The 2001 Rockford High School alumni is remembered for many things, including being a classical violin whiz kid, pioneering a campaign for a strings program in Rockford’s school system, winning concerto competitions held by the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony and the GVSU Symphony Orchestra, and going on to receive his master’s degree in performance at the Peabody Institute of Music in Baltimore, Md.
Now 27 years old, Warne hasn’t left Baltimore, but he has released his second album of ornate, chamber folk/pop songs in exactly one year. Warne’s new release, En Route, is a confident, mature album that displays a songwriter willing to take risks by stretching genre lines and delivering lyrics that could be found in a future edition of the Norton Anthology of Verse (example: “…your painted lips turned ivory, your fingernails like diamonds as they claw to be fed,” from “The Love Song Never Died”).
The album’s single, “On My Way to Jordan,” has already created a buzz, receiving first place in folk on www.ourstage.com for June 2009.
“I’ve heard it said that ‘the album’ is the new symphony and I believe it! I have a few more gray hairs on my head to show for it!” said Warne in a recent phone interview.
Coordinating the schedules of 13 musicians from the Peabody Institute and the Baltimore Symphony—including French horn, oboe, mandolin, violin, cello and pedal steel guitar, in addition to a standard five-piece rock band setup—and recording in five separate locations would be enough to make most people’s heads spin, but Warne came out of the process ready to hit the stage.
“I was getting antsy! It’s like writing a thesis in science and then never having your results tested in the real world. The importance of these songs is how they hold up with audiences night after night,” commented Warne.
Warne normally sits behind a piano or guitar and sings these days, leaving his violin at home, but his ability to rearrange his songs for different instruments keeps audiences coming back for more.
“I had to carve out my niche in the Baltimore music scene or maybe I’ve just grown tired of electric guitar solos!” laughed Warne.
In a recent review of Warne’s CD release show, Baltimore’s City Paper reviewer Al Shipley wrote that Warne’s live performance “displayed flashes of brilliance,” and away from home it even earned him first place among 36 competitors in Philadelphia’s renowned World Café Live “Philly Rising” Open Stage. Apparently, this whiz kid’s still got it!
Warne’s new album En Route can be purchased at Frenz Coffee House, cdbaby.com, on iTunes, or from his website at www.cameronblakemusic.com.