Singer/songwriter Cameron McGill is all heart on his debut album, Stories of the Knife and the Back. While the title might suggest otherwise, McGill learns from those moments of betrayal and dirty tricks for an endearing set of songs. What makes McGill a star among stars is his one-of-a-kind honesty. He's not overly ambitious on Stories of the Knife and the Back; he's not out to prove himself to be more than just a regular guy with his heart on his sleeve. He succeeds in blending threads of roots rock, country-rock and indie rock, and unlike Ryan Adams, Pete Yorn, and whoever else is being touted as the next country boy superstah, McGill's focus on allowing the songs to mesh with simple production speaks for itself. McGill's a poet, one obsessed with the glamour of old Hollywood while living his life according to Literary classics and standard punk rock anthems. Songs like "The Ballad of George Dobbins" and "The Summer Dress Step" showcase McGill's vocal passion á la Adam Duritz while embracing classic country and folk stylings for his own rock & roll signature. Violins and pianos waltz throughout the more sublime reflection of "Coal Miner's Son" for one of McGill's hidden treasures, and if he plays his cards just right, it could become one of those underrated classics in years to come. McGill's earnest attempt in making a solid rock album might make Stories of the Knife and the Back come off a touch manicured, but who cares? It's free of the slickness of a major label release. If anything, McGill will kill you with kindness.
AllMusic Review by MacKenzie Wilson