Chicago songwriter Cameron McGill is nothing if not prolific in his musical output. Apart from standing behind the keys for Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s, he has released five soulful Stax-influenced albums of intimate narratives and cathartic give-and-take — most recently as Cameron McGill & What Army. But with a slight rearrangement and the addition of new players, McGill has come back with a new lineup for his upcoming sixth album Gallows Etiquette (out October 15th). But he hasn’t lost those particular traits — the gritty melodies, gorgeous brass and string arrangements, and a surprising ability to elicit deep wellsprings of emotion and inclusivity from well-worn 60’s and 70’s folk traditions — which set him apart in the vast sea of his fellow singer/songwriters.
On Gallows Etiquette, McGill has an almost preternatural ability to wring honest feeling and commonality from his often lyrically melancholy stories of people lost in the mire of their own lives. With an unflinching eye and ear, he takes a pointed look at the heartache and desperation that can quickly rise to the surface with just a slight push in the wrong direction. But he doesn’t limit himself to juts tipping his toes into the admittedly extensive aesthetics of folk music. He soaks himself in the quicksilver melodies and rustic instrumentation of early blues and country. Only occasionally coming up for air, McGill quickly pulls us deeper into these bucolic musical soundscapes.
He explains the thought process behind Gallows Etiquette: “It focuses on coming to an understanding of my place in America, something with which I find myself increasingly struggling to define. The good and bad parts: the wonderful luck of it all, the guilt and gratefulness, the reckless ambition, and the responsibility or lack thereof. These songs are my experience in it, my travels in it, my joys and failures with it, and my sick way of making sense of it all.”
Beats Per Minute is pleased to premiere the album stream of Cameron McGill’s upcoming record, Gallows Etiquette.