Music is often a way for more reserved people to express their inner creativity and passion, and Cameron Nickerson is no exception to this. From humble beginnings, the singer-songwriter has always harboured an affinity for expression through song, and its knack for bringing him out of his bubble. Before going solo, Nickerson was tearing it up with his band The Rockabillys, opening for gargantuan national acts like The Sheepdogs, and playing with local favourites The Stanfields. After a somewhat trying band breakup, Nickerson took a year off before moving back to Halifax and deciding to take a shot at striking out on his own.
Bringing to mind modern outlaw folkers like Sturgill Simpson, but with a delightfully invigorating maritime bent, Cameron’s songs are both poetic and purposeful. Never writing a word he doesn’t mean, his songs are always heavily personal – sometimes deceivingly so. Even his so-called “made-up” tales have a golden nugget of truth and personal struggle. A born storyteller, his live shows are engaging not just because of his captivating stage presence, but the way he spins yarns and tells tales.
His debut album, Detours, was released this January. It was produced by long-time friend and collaborator Blake Johnston (The Stogies) and features gorgeous harmonies by Christine Campbell and fiddle by Calen Kinney. Beginning as an idea Nickerson and Johnston were throwing around 2015, the record combines Nickerson’s love of modern singer-songwriters with the grit and grime of country outlaw heroes like Willie Nelson or Merle Haggard. Sounding neither totally modern, nor like a retro throwback, Nickerson walks a unique musical path that’s strewn with bluegrass, rock and roll, teenage angst, and world-weary contemplation.
Nickerson combines the salty air and rough-hewn tales of maritime life with a familiar roots sound and arrives at something wholly his own. With another single on the way, and plans to tour the east coast in support of the new album, 2018 looks to be an eventful year for Nickerson, and it seems like he couldn’t be happier about that.