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For Cam Penner, variety’s the spice of an artist’s life

Monday 19th, September 2016 / 02:01
By Amber McLinden
Cam Penner

Cam Penner

CALGARY — Cam Penner’s music is raw, uninhibited, and more than anything, diverse. Having recorded a grand total of eight albums over the course of 14 years, Penner has spent a lot of time honing his musical style and creating what you see today.

“I don’t listen to the music I write. I listen to hip hop, soul, some Motown, and stuff like that,” Penner says. “I think the biggest thing is I’ve been doing this for quite a while, so how do you keep on making it interesting? I want it to change all the time.”

Incorporating folk, rock ‘n’ roll, and even electronic elements, Penner’s newest album, Sex & Politics, is an album produced without a rigid structure. The album has “a sinisterness, a darkness, and a light to it.” It’s cohesive, and its intimacy is a reflection of Penner’s recording studio tucked away in the woods in British Columbia.

“It sounds like an album to me. It doesn’t sound like a bunch of songs from here and there, it sounds like an album.”

Penner began touring with Jon Wood 10 years ago and the duo hasn’t slowed down since. Touring, much like songwriting, has been an experiential process that has grown into something amazing.

“The album is one piece of art, and then you take those songs on tour and it’s a different kind of art,” Penner says. “It’s even more uninhibited when you get onstage and you try and pull the rug from under yourself and your audience’s feet.”

Touring, songwriting, and producing albums have been a continual process of learning, and Penner’s picked up on quite a few things throughout his career. Over time, you come to understand the best way to approach music, he explains.

“Not being afraid of any idea. Not being afraid of trying anything out. Not being afraid of things. Challenging yourself. I think as you get older, you just don’t worry about shit as much as you used to. You go, ‘Fuck it, let’s just lay down whatever we want on the canvas and we’ll sort it out.’”

Cam Penner plays The Bassment Sept. 23 (Saskatoon), Artesian on 13th Sept. 24 (Regina), The Times Change(d) High & Lonesome Club Sept. 24 (Winnipeg), The Almanac Sept. 28 (Edmonton) and Ironwood Stage & Grill Sept. 29 (Calgary).

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