Raw, Resilient, Reflective. Cameron Stenger’s latest release, Return, channels the voice inside of ourselves. Reminiscent of Nick Drake’s Bryter Later and Elliott Smith’s XO, Stenger fuses intricate, finger picking acoustic guitar and lush orchestral arrangements with emotionally-charged lyrics, rich harmonies, and haunting melodies.
Cameron Stenger’s fifth album and his second release on PotLuck Foundation.
On Siren Songs, Stenger leaves behind the Electric Guitar that was the primary focus on his last release “Carnival” and instead dives into a more orchestral territory. The album is filled with Cellos, violins, the occasional trumpet and other acoustic instrumentation. Siren Songs expands on the theme of Stenger’s previous releases of longing, loss, and love, but with an added maturity and hopefulness that feels personal yet universal. From the start Siren Songs was conceived as an album that was never meant to played live, but music that is meant for the quiet moments in life where everything else tunes out and we reflect on what it means to have love, loss, and hope.
Stenger's fourth album, and is his most ambitious material to date. A departure from the singer-songwriter style of his earlier material, Carnival delves into a fuller sound and a leap into fuller, amplified arrangements. Stenger wrote and recorded Carnival over the course of 2 years in NYC, Pittsburgh, and Chapel Hill, playing most of the instruments on the album with production and mixing assistance from Jason Merritt (Tift Merrit, Kenny Roby).
A New York state native, Cameron has lived in his fair share of cities across the country. While going to school in Massachusetts, he recorded his first album Fool’s Day (self-released, 2008), which earned praise as a “sparse, poignant” album. After returning to NY after a failed attempt to live in San Francisco where he worked as a women's shoe salesman, Stenger recorded Where You Are (self-released, 2011), which begins to explore adventurous sonic textures and landscapes over his familiar melodious acoustic guitar and earnest vocals. Pushing his ability further in arranging instruments and songs he recorded Lovers (self-released, 2012), an album dense with sound, meandering through atypical structures and genuine folk tunes.
With Carnival, Stenger brings his tunes into the realm of fully realized “band,” i.e., the standard set up of bass, drums, and electric guitar are constant throughout. The basic tracks were recorded in Pittsburgh, PA while visiting a friend. The songs were later embellished with other instrumentation and additional mixing with Merritt when he arrived back in North Carolina. His live shows, both full band and solo, reflect much of the variety of aesthetics featured in his catalog, moving from introspective numbers to full volume guitar driven rockers. It’s good stuff.