In a complicated world, Cam Penner finds beauty in simplicity, with an honest, spare approach to folk music that is refreshing in an age filled with so much insincerity and irony. Singing uncompromising songs about redemption and truth, his is a voice for the disenfranchised, a storyteller for those who never reach their destination. Penner's fiercely personal lyrics are complemented by a gentle acoustic guitar style, and the defiant heroes of his songs are weary, but they are never defeated.
Look no further than the opening track of the new album Gypsy Summer to understand Cam Penner. "It's going to get worse before it gets better" Penner chants on the powerful opener 'Driftwood'. This album is a rallying call. It reaches out, boldly and magnanimously into present-day existence. With Gypsy Summer, Penner continues to successfully roam from his comfort zone into new territory.
His fourth and first self produced album finds Penner exploring new textures and bolder sounds. It is his most self assured outing to date. Even though his fractured rootsy persona still creeps into the mix, this isn't a depressing record. Gypsy Summer is full of hope. It's full of love. It's electrifying and provoking. It's full of everything we should be looking for, not only musically, but in life.
Cam Penner hails from a Mennonite community in Southern Manitoba, where his parents, the town rebels, ran an illegal roadhouse and his grandfather, a bootlegger, delivered his goods to the rural community bringing much needed remedy. Growing up in small towns in both Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Penner found an appreciation for common people’s stories. He left at nineteen for Chicago where he ran a soup kitchen and worked at a women shelter. These experiences ignited a passion for social justice and after moving back to Canada, Cam continued working with the homeless for the next thirteen years.
Penner has described his philosophical outlook and songwriting muse: "Sometimes I feel the thousands of souls I've listened to are people living inside of me, telling their tales." Agreed. When listening to Penners songs you can hear the struggle, the hope, the yearning to be better. "I've never really written topical songs, I usually write about the emotional struggle, the pull between what's right and wrong."
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