As Cameron Mee stares at the fretboard of his guitar, fingers nimbly exploring the sonic possibilities available, he enters something of a meditative state. The way that many of us sit in complete silence as we aspire to a place of serenity and peace, this seems instantly available to Cameron as he creates his own musical doorway to a plane of calm and happy existence. While this is most certainly attributable to his talent as a musician, it’s equally due to his willingness to take chances; how else would a self-described jazz enthusiast (educated at one of the world’s premier music schools, Berklee College of Music in Boston) end up in Nashville Tennessee as one of the most desirable country guitarists by a host of artists in this genre? Cameron Mee has the spirit of an artist and it resonates with those around him, both figuratively and literally through his guitar.
Listening to Cameron describe his love for legendary players like Leon Rhodes who was a jazz and western swing player performing mainly in a Country context, or local Nashville luminaries like Mike Bourque, Matthew Lee, and Danny Muhammed; it becomes clear that identity rather than genre is paramount for him. Cameron divulges, “As a good friend put it ‘You’re great…at playing jazz over country music.’ which was a funny comment but it made me realize that I truly have to keep doing what I studied and what I hear in my head, regardless of genre.” Pivoting from reading “Real Books” (jazz shortcut charts for gigging live) to the “Nashville number system” was intuitive for an eternal student such as Mee. As his focus shifted towards Country music, so did his understanding and respect for it. He stipulates, “I love country due to its storied history and the incredible diversity. I love the music of the classics and the new stuff too. There are so many incredible and unique musicians in that world; it’s so amazing to hear how everyone plays and sings the same music differently. There is a collective love for the classic country tunes we all know, and I love that I can go down Broadway and hear these tunes every day.
That respectful tone is a two-way street that has paved the way to success in Nashville and on a national stage, literally, for Cameron. While his most high profile gig is that of guitar and pedal steel for 2021 American Idol winner Chayce Beckham, playing songs like Beckham’s #1 single “23” to stadiums containing thousands of enthusiastic fans, Mee participates in the thriving Nashville scene with perhaps less famous artists but certainly among the highly talented. From tours with New Lost City Records Recording Artists Whelan Stone whose debut single “Whiskey in a Wine Glass” racked up 600,000 streams in only 4 months, to recording with Canadian country/rock artist Tom Samulak, and others, Cameron revels in the unique opportunities each presents. He imparts, “With Whelan Stone, the songs they wrote are fun to play and super well written. Performing with them was really natural and the band was tight. Working with Tom Samulak is just a dream. He’s an absolutely fantastic musician and a sweet guy. I worked with him on an unreleased project so I can’t say too much about it.” There’s a clear component that all these artists find in Cameron’s playing; his ability to bring excitement and energy through his own individual interpretation of their music within these subsets of a single musical genre
Cameron Mee finds himself in the enviable position of being able to play music in different size venues with artists of varying degrees of notoriety whom all have their unique twist on country music. When presented with the concept that he is living every stage of his own career simultaneously through this, he agrees that this scenario keeps him alert, humble, and excited. He relates, “I can feel the benefits of each situation. Something incredible about small venues from a performing standpoint is knowing that everyone is there with the intent to see you, and really watch you perform. They can hear everything so closely and get a chance to truly be in the moment. Not to say this doesn’t happen in a stadium, but in a smaller room, I feel you get a better chance to connect. I’ve played in front of thousands with Chayce and seeing that many people, and taking a guitar solo for them, and hearing that applause…it just blew my mind. I couldn’t believe the thrill I got and how good it felt to perform to that many people, yelling and watching in excitement.”
Writer: Arlen Gann