By Derek Downham
Let’s hear it for Cam MacInnes, if you please...
Some people are just born to play guitar. They have those fingers that fan along a fretboard, graceful, dulcet.
With the strike of a single note, something otherworldly occurs. It’s like watching The Birth Of Venus come to life, or entering the heart of an Aurora Borealis, Cam MacInnes is one of those players.
I first saw Cam years ago performing at the now-defunct ( yet still celebrated ) Parkdale drinkery, Not My Dog. The intimate setting was the perfect backdrop for the band he plays guitar in, Cadre. Fitting name, as the word cadre means “a small group of people specially trained for a particular purpose or profession”. Each member is seasoned with their own stoic qualities, and I do recommend seeing them in any of their various incarnations.
I had actually heard about Cam through my friend ( and another fretboard chiseller ), Les Hoffman. Les has played with greats like Chuck Berry, so I trust his tastes to be on-point.
Throughout Cadre’s sets, Cam’s notes cooed, purred, growled, smiled, sputtered, coughed and moaned. I could hear tendrils of Marc Ribot, Ry Cooder and Nels Cline in his playing, but there is an x-factor that is all his. He could easily be placed beside any of those names in the annals of music history.
Through each wonderfully woven original song (and every creative cover song twist), Cam never once stepped on anyone’s musical toes. He gave service to every song, letting wildly charismatic poet and frontman Bill Colgate do what he does best.
But when it’s Cam’s turn to lead, pay attention.
There’s gold in them trills. Tone for days.
Also: Great guy, great hang.
It’s nice when talented people are nice, don’t you agree?
Check out Cam’s playing on this chug-a-long version of “Get Rhythm”. Great theme, and deft slide playing all over.
Also, go see Cadre live. It’s heady stuff, in all the right ways.
And hey, thanks for reading/sharing. It means a lot.