10 songs – 45 minutes
Minneapolis based Mark Cameron offers up a full serving of original material on this disc. A guitarist who possesses a strong, silky voice with lots of range, his career spans three decades in the Twin Cities, where he issued five records as a folk/rock performer before switching over to the blues full-time about five years ago.
“One Way Ride To The Blues” is his third CD in this genre. It features a strong collection of originals styled to get folks off their chairs and out onto the dance floor. Joining Cameron are Bill Keyes on harmonica and the rock-solid rhythm section of Scott Lundberg on bass and John Benedict on drums. Cameron’s wife, Sheri, contributes on flute.
Available through Amazon, CDBaby or the band’s website, the album kicks off with “The Wild Side.” Not to be confused with the Lou Reed rock classic, this is a bright, upbeat original blues that begins with a tasty guitar riff and strong accents from the rhythm section. This one tells the story of a woman whose eyes bare her free-spirited plans: “You want to take me to the wild side/As you’re tossing back your hair/You want to send me on a wild ride/You’ve got plenty to share.”
Two songs about illicit romance follow. “Cheating” is a shuffle dealing with the emotions the singer faces after realizing the love of his life wasn’t playing by the rules. It features a smoky harp solo that leads into a modulated guitar riff. The funky “Something On The Side,” which features steady triplets on the skins, carries the theme forward, while analyzing the woman from the outside looking in: “She might be the girl next door/But you get more than you’ve bargained for.”
“My Way” tells the tale of a woman who puts herself on display. She’s got a man at home who won’t believe a word she has to say. The singer wants to start a relationship – but only if they do it HIS way. “In This House” kicks off with an uncredited 42-second keyboard prelude before Cameron begins a song of praise of a home where folks have got everything they need. It’s an uplifting tune that could be interpreted in different ways. If you’re religious, the message could be spiritual. If you’re not, a positive affirmation of a loving family. A loping guitar line drives “Life Is Good When You’ve Got The Blues,” a clever, different take on several common themes. Keyes provides a substantial harp solo mid-tune.
“Are You Gonna Dance?” describes a good night at roadhouse, where no one is standing still. Cameron provides a brief, but flavorful guitar break. Up next is the catchy rocker “Somebody Once,” about a baseball phenom turned gas station attendant whose career was cut short by a knee injury and a about a former go-go dancer who’s seen better days. The message: “If you’ve got it/Enjoy it while you can/You can forget right now/About making any plan.” The disc concludes with “Never Get Enough,” a country-style number that features interplay between Cameron on acoustic guitar and Keyes on harp, and the album’s slow-burning title cut, “One Way Ride To The Blues.”
Nominated for Album Of The Year by the Minnesota Blues Society, this disc is well-conceived, well-produced and a fun trip from beginning to end.