“Beautifully melodic and refreshingly poetic, “Hide and Go Seek” delivers modern folk with a twist. Blake’s classical training and small-town roots lend themselves to this quietly brilliant record. Raised in the rural town of Rockford, Michigan, and surrounded by cows, grass, and snow, it should be no surprise he chose to write folk songs. His love of classical music (stemming from that of his parents) led him to play the violin. While studying at Peabody Conservatory of Music, Blake discovered the music of Bob Dylan. He then taught himself to write songs and to play guitar and piano. Bits of Dylan can be heard and sometimes felt in some of the songs on this third album, “Hide and Go Seek.” It even sports a haunting cover of his “Moonshiner.” The title track is also undeniably Dylan-esque. Not only delightful to the ears, it effectively tells a story in a beautiful way. “You Can’t Let it Go” and “Never Taught Much” seem like parables, complete with phrases such as, “The sun burns for sinners; It rises for saints.”
Though he does a mean Dylan, what sets Cameron Blake apart from your average folk artist is the use of classical instruments within his carefully constructed pieces of prose. Perhaps the best example of this comes in the first song on the album, “Every Hundred Miles.” A brooding cello looms behind the soft guitar and smooth vocals, adding a whole new dimension of emotion. This depth of emotion is expressed throughout the album in various ways.
The most obvious is in the way many of the tracks take on obvious spiritual tones. From the first beat, provided by a piano, “Down to the River” sets a Gospel mood and sends your toes tapping. Blake’s choice to perform the straight hymn version of “I’ll fly away” combined with the lullaby-like “Willow Tree” ease the listener out of the album perfectly, and with piece of mind. The only track waning from this idea of emotional depth is “Baby Come Home.” Incorporating a simulated clap with the constant strum of the guitar and cliché lyrics, it is the closest thing to pop on the album.
Overall, “Hide and Go Seek” is enlightening, relaxing, and just downright enjoyable. It is gently fraught with meaning to keep you entertained and keep you thinking. A talented songwriter and musician with a deliciously soothing voice, Cameron Blake really delivers with this one.”
9 out of 10 Stars
-Taylor Tatum (The Blue Indian)