|Mark Cameron continues his mission to hone his skills as a blues storyteller on his latest release “On A Roll.” Meticulously recorded over the span of a year at Bathtub Shrine studios in Minneapolis, the 14 new original tracks are a true collaboration between Cameron and his band mates. The longtime rhythm section of Scott Lundberg (bass) and Dan Schroeder (drums) deftly navigate the diverse song palette. Sheri Cameron brings in the spice on saxophone, flute and percussion while Rick Miller delivers the down-and-dirty sleaze on harmonica.
The lonesome moan of Miller’s harmonica brings in the opening track, ‘Trouble Brewin,’ a swinging tune that has Cameron laying out the story of him and his gal who find themselves on a collision course. Schroeder then drops a funky beat for the rebuke of a dirty dealer in ‘On Your Way To The Top,’ which features some slick double-lead lines. Cameron offers some advice on a wild woman during the rumbling boogie ‘Dirty Biscuit.’ He dedicates the road song ‘Ridin The Rails’ to departed friend and bassist Serrin Andreas and Sheri’s flute gives this introspective tune its distinctive Canned Heat feel.
The title track is a classic tongue-in-cheek tale of hard luck and trouble with a man “getting in touch with the deepest, darkest places in his soul.” Cameron delivers a spoken monologue and the harmonica and sax become a full-horn section on the jump blues ‘Dicey.’ The modern groove of ‘Next Stop Is The Blues’ comes right out of the Robert Cray playbook, while the straight up Delta Blues ‘Where I Got You From’ turns back the clock nicely. The dance-hall number ‘Movin Out’ pays homage to Rosco Gordon’s 1959 standard ‘Just A Little Bit’ with some Texas guitar flair.
The Louis Jordan inspired swing of ‘Back Seat Boogie’ has a great sing-along familiarity and Cameron questions his own motives on the bumping ‘Here We Go.’ Mark lets his Gibson model “Lucille” guitar do the talking for him on ‘What Lucy Says.’ He then teaches us a lesson on the intricacies of the blues in ‘Mojo Shuffle’ explaining “if it ain’t too fast, it ain’t too slow, you got mojo.” The soaring ballad ‘Dreams’ closes the set featuring dynamic interplay between harmonica, saxophone and lead guitar while Cameron’s vocals take us to church for solace and inspiration.
This album indeed finds Mark Cameron and his crew “On A Roll” after putting in years of due diligence polishing their craft.
Rick J Bowen
Mark Cameron – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Minnesota based singer, songwriter and guitarist Mark Cameron has been active in live music for over thirty years. After five studio releases in the 1980’s and 90’s, Mark turned his focus to the blues with “Life Of Illusion” in 2009, followed by the ambitious project “Built To Bust” in 2011 and “One Way Ride To The Blues” in 2014. Mark’s break-through recording came in 2016 with “Playing Rough” which yielded the hard driving electric blues of the title track along with the funky romp ‘Somewhere Down The Line’ and the soulful ‘Borrowed Time.’ This was quickly followed by another chart-topping album “Live At Blues On The Chippewa” in 2017. This unplanned live recording during one of the band’s many festival appearances “perfectly captures his live sound, the next best thing to being there, totally hot stuff” (Chris Spector, Midwest Record). The Mark Cameron Band recently represented Minnesota at the International Blues Challenge and several original songs were also featured on the Minnesota Blues All-Stars album. Known as a charismatic front man and soulful guitarist, Mark delivers his original compositions with a mix of sincerity, honesty and often a touch of humor. Mark’s vocal range stretches from basement baritone to full-on growl and his original lyrics draw the listener in and paint a picture of the many worlds within the blues.
Rick Miller – Harmonica, Vocals
From St. Paul, MN Rick’s formal musical training was on the baritone horn, playing in concert, marching and stage bands. He soon discovered that a harmonica was easier to carry. Rick draws enduring inspiration from the playing of Jimmy Reed, Little Walter and Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson (Canned Heat). Miller has founded, fronted and played harp for several blues bands including Black Cat Bone, Jambon Cru, Swamp Kings and Cracked Wheat. He has shared the stage with such acts as Los Lonely Boys, Shemekia Copeland, Ronnie Baker Brooks and Joe Bonamassa. Rick is often asked to “jump in” with bands, including a recent appearance with Charlie Love’s band at Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago.
Scott Lundberg – Bass, Vocals
Originally from Houston, MN Scott Lundberg began classical piano training at the age of 6 and added guitar, bass, trombone, organ and tuba to his repertoire along the way. He progressed from his first garage band New Dawn at age 14, to high school and college concert bands, marching bands, jazz bands, orchestras, school and church choirs. He has played bass guitar, tuba and keyboards in many working bands along the way, including Hurricane Hash (Dixieland), Liberation (brass rock), Rasputin (alternative rock), Hearts of Praise (gospel), 2nd Exit (electric blues), American Outlaws (classic rock), Top Shelf (electric blues), The Jennifer Springer Blues Band and since 2009, The Mark Cameron Band.
Dan Schroeder – Drums
Dan Schroeder channeled his energies into playing drums from a very young age. His parents soon recognized that the constant tapping of feet and playing on knees was a sign and encouraged Dan to pursue his passion for percussion. Dan began playing in bands way back in 1976 and has extended his drum skills to include teaching along with his long history as a fulltime musician. Dan has shared the stage with an impressive variety of performers from a wide range of genres. From Don Williams to Brett Michaels, Dan has shared the stage with the best and is known for delivering inspired performances that get people out of their seats and out on the floor. “On A Roll” also features Dan’s 16 year old son Ian on baritone sax.
Sheri Cameron – Sax, Flute, Percussion
Ask Sheri Cameron and she will tell you she is not a musician, yet the powerful sound of “On A Roll” owes much to Sheri’s recent move to tenor saxophone as her primary instrument. Her whatever-it-takes approach to the music is the reason she has become a crowd favorite as a sax player, flute specialist and percussion guru. Today Sheri plays sax, flute, bongos, shaker, guiro, tambourine, washboard, wind chimes and whatever else a song might call for. She puts the “tasty” in the Mark Cameron Band. The original paintings and hand-drawn caricatures that are the cover art for “On A Roll” were all created by Sheri, who claims not to be an artist either.