A couple of weeks ago I saw something incredible. While wandering around from venue to venue at the Midwest Music Summit, I made a note to stop by Cameron McGill’s solo show. Little did I know that he had more than just a solo show planned for Indianapolis. McGill had brought along a string quartet dubbed the Quartet Offensive. In a short time, he managed to silence an entire crowd full of industry folks, music lovers, and members of other Summit bands by playing songs about the best and the worst of human nature. Songs about love, loss and what it means to be an American today. Each song poured over the silent stricken crowd by a man who looked like he’d dropped in from the Depression for a visit. When McGill had finished pouring himself into the six songs he quietly said his thanks. The crowd erupted into a standing ovation that did not feel obligatory (as most do these days) but rather necessary.
McGill has been turning heads for years by writing songs that tear listeners apart with every note. Armed with only a guitar and a harmonica, he will sing you songs that might very well change your life. While touring the country as the opener and guitarist for Rachael Yamagata in 2004, he appeared with her on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, the Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, and the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Recent full-band appearances as Cameron McGill & What Army include SXSW, CMJ, Summerfest and Lollapalooza. Each appearance became a buzz show that everyone talked about. McGill has played all across the nation. Whether it’s to a crowd of hundreds or a crowd of four, it always ends with the same captivating result. The reason is simple: he has an amazing voice and writes beautiful melodies over great progressions.
At a ridiculously crowded basement party, I once saw him unplug his guitar and walk into the crowd mid-song – without missing a beat – to many awestruck fans. He finished the song while walking amongst the room full of kids drinking box-wine. When he was done, people seemed afraid to break the silence with applause. This is the type of musician that we need right now. This is the type of musician we need to usher us away from the Ashlees and the Fergies.
Cameron McGill and the Quartet Offensive will be appearing at the Iron Post in Urbana on Sunday, Sept. 3. See him now before the rest of the nation catches on and takes him away. Also appearing is Alaskan sensation Matt Hopper. This will be an early stop on the pair’s “Troubadours with Tourettes” tour, which will take them from the Midwest to the West Coast, and everywhere between. Start time is 10 p.m. and the cover, amazingly, is only $5. And please, be quiet. You can listen to Cameron McGill at: www.cameronmcgill.com or www.myspace.com/cameronmcgill and Matt Hopper at: www.matthopper.com or www.myspace.com/matthopper.