How can you pinpoint the exact time when one’s musical story/blues journey begins? The first chance visit to the local juke joint, the first ever time feeling a pair of drums sticks in your hand, the first time ever singing in church, the first time you hear your mother’s soulful, raspy voice as she made up rudimentary songs around the house to entertain you or lull you to sleep? Or how about the moment you performed your favorite radio hit in your socks, with your mother’s hairbrush secretly in your bedroom mirror when you were supposed to be doing homework? Or can it begin before you even take you first breath of air? Are you just born with it? You just can’t put your finger on the real musical beginning for Cameron Kimbrough, however one thing is certain: this thing called blues is in his bones, runs through his veins and is rooted in his soul. The grandson of North Mississippi Hill District Blues Legend Junior Kimbrough and a natural autodidact, the Blues seems to be Cameron’s birthright. Over the years he taught himself to play the drums and the guitar while developing a rich vocal quality that edifies like that feeling you get when you sink your teeth into your favorite dish. If you ask Cameron about his relationship with Blues music, you’ll learn that Blues didn’t become important to him until later in life, at age 29. It’s as if it remained dormant in his spirit until one day, he began to understand it more, after years of playing drums and writing and singing R&B music.
Cameron spent rare childhood nights in juke joints watching the likes of his grandfather, his host of talented uncles and his own drummer father, Kenny Kimbrough sing and play Blues music to lively audiences. Anxious and excited as a child to be there, he watched the music take people away from the hardships of their daily lives, “it was like people were cleansing themselves…it looked like church, except communion was everyday.” Cameron recorded his first song at age 16 on the historic campus of Rust College, a small, private HBCU in Holly Springs, Mississippi and spent the next ten years of his life singing hooks on whatever studio track he could, writing and playing drums at church until he released his first work on CD Baby in 2010, called Realism. In 2011, Cameron got the opportunity to join up with Bluesman Lightnin Malcolm to create a dynamic two-piece drums and guitar Blues band with whom he recorded the critically acclaimed live-recorded album, Renegade in Clarksdale, Mississippi. The twosome travelled the U.S. on a nationwide tour from California to Charlotte, North Carolina. Cameron’s versatile playing, breathy and soulful voice and creative energy combined with his natural family talent took the band to new heights and created a new sound for the next generation of North Mississippi Hill Country Blues music. During that time, Cameron graced the stages of many a Blues Fest including the renowned Bukka White Fest, Juke Joint Fest, Gretna Festival, Sunflower Festival, Voodoo Fest and the Freedom Creek Blues Fest among others.
Cameron spent the next three years honing his craft and perfecting his own signature style on the guitar. He released his first ever EP, a hip-hop and rock infused R&B album entitled Breakfast for Dinner in 2013. Following that release, Cameron began getting back to his roots: the raw north Mississippi hill country tradition infusing those traditions with his love of R&B and Rock music. His eclectic style is influenced by a diverse host of artists from the likes of John Lee Hooker to Linkin Park to Chris Brown.
Cameron is the next generation of North Mississippi Hill Country Blues. His unique style of Blues has strong traditional characteristics of rawness and simplicity peppered with flavors Rock, Neo-Soul and R&B. With his feet firmly planted in his Blues birthright, Blues music, for Cameron, “the Blues is in everything, it surrounds us…and makes you appreciate other moments in life…it’s kind of like a filtration” that “out the frustrations, and keeps it from being balled up…” When you ask the youngest Kimbrough Bluesman what he wants to give people through his music, he says. “I want to give people a different understanding of hardships… There’s light at the end of the tunnel. I want to give them a vibe that will take them away from the moment of whatever they were thinking about or going through before they heard the music…I want to give you something you can feel off in the front of your toenails!”