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Strike up the band

Posted: August 14, 2014 5:55 p.m.
Updated: August 15, 2014 6:00 a.m.

Since I have lived in this area for about eight months now, I have made a discovery about Camden. There’s quite a bit of music talent here, especially for a town this size. I have to also say that my opinion comes from just the musicians I know and have heard perform personally. I’m sure there are countless others I don’t know about -- yet.

A week ago I had the pleasure of hearing a talented four-piece band on the outside patio of a Mexican restaurant in Camden. I know two of the men. One owns a music store in town and the other is a newspaper reporter who used to work at this very paper. I have never worked with him, but we’ve met a few times. Both of them play guitar and sing and along with a bass guitar player and a drummer, they put out a good selection of classic rock cover songs, meaning songs made famous by someone else. Nothing at all wrong with that; it’s what most local bands do.

It quickly became very clear that the guitarist who owns the store is a big fan of Neil Young, as the group did several of Young’s songs and he also played the harmonica using one of those holder things around his neck so he could play harmonica and guitar at the same time. Multitasking at its finest.

Songs by The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Steely Dan -- one of my all-time favorites -- and many others were played with precision, but not so perfect as to take the fun and spirit out of them. They were tight and loose at the same time, if that makes any sense. Some musicians toil to play a song exactly like the original recording, while others just play it well and put their own brand on it at the same time. That’s what those guys did and in my book that’s how it should be done. If I want an exact reproduction of a song I’ll just play the CD.

I’ve also had the pleasure of hearing a few solo performers and duos at a downtown Camden coffee shop and each one is good in their own way. Most of those entertainers do a folksy type of music, primarily with acoustic instruments. It’s a relaxing way to spend some time and enjoy a good cup of coffee and a light snack.

I heard a very dynamic church choir at the Martin Luther King Day event at First United Methodist Church in Camden and again at the special Mothers Day celebration at Zemp Stadium. That was also the day I first heard Camden Mayor Tony Scully sing with his impressive voice. When I think of all the churches in the area, I know there has to be plenty of musical talent within them, from the children up to the seniors and everyone in between. Some churches have praise bands with full instrumentation while others may have only a pianist or organist, but all love to use their God-given talents.

Yes, Camden and the surrounding area are rich with musicians of every style and level of experience. If you get a chance to go out to hear a live performer or band, do yourself a favor and go. It’ll do you good.

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