Lula 1892 had the chance to speak with Cameron Wrinkle from his ranch in Abilene and catch up on what he’s currently doing. Raised on a working ranch, Wrinkle understands the value of an ironclad work ethic and what it means to truly put the hours in to see success. Ranch life isn’t the only one Wrinkle has known, however. Born into a musical family, it was only natural for him to pick up an instrument at a young age. Starting with the fiddle at three years old and moving on to the guitar when he was nine, doors opened that would shape his life and change him forever.
Wrinkle grew up in a life rich with music. From the time his dad put a fiddle in his hand as a toddler until today, making music has been his greatest passion. “Certainly over the years music has always been a big thing. If I didn’t have music I don’t know what else I would have grown up doing. I didn’t like video games-the thing I loved the most was music. I would sit in my room for hours every day after school and play and play, until it got to the point that my parents had to come in and tell me to go to bed. I was staying up too late, and keeping everyone awake with my playing.” He attributes much of his success as a versatile song writer to the early influences he had in music; with a family who valued music, he was exposed to a wide range of genres and artists. “I grew up out on the ranch, so typically out here [in Texas] you would be in to George Strait, Alan Jackson, listening to that kind of stuff, but I grew up listening to the Bee Gees and other things. The high harmonies that I get to play with now within writing songs came from different sounds.”
When we asked what had influenced his sound the most, he referenced many successful crossover artists, but is hesitant to classify his own sound so as not to be pigeon holed into one genre. “You go from Tracy Byrd who had a country sound up to Vince Gill, who could sing rock. Steve Warner crossed over and Michael Martin Murphey had a song on the pop charts for a while back in the 70’s. My sound is always changing. I like the country rock sound- but there’s a difference in the way I like to write. In modern country, they’re taking a country song about driving trucks down back roads and trying to put pop sounds into it. I take more of a secular written song on the alternative rock side and try to give it a country sound. I grew up listening to the Dobro and the Mandolin and Fiddle; I try to hold close to those sounds. It’s a very authentic sound with those instruments, and you can’t get that on any electric instrument. I hold more on the acoustic, folky, rock style, not really so much traditional country with the way the songs are written. But my sound is always changing.”
Wrinkle’s current EP, Younger Days: Volume I is a true testament to the varied sound he enjoys capturing in both his writing and the production of his songs. After spending a year writing anything and everything he could, he sat down and narrowed his first EP to five songs as a sample of the crossover genres he works best in. The process from writing to studio took some time as he decided what he would and wouldn’t record. “I had the blessing of getting to see a lot of different artists play; Michael Martin Murphey, O’Connor Band. I was able to write in a lot of different genres and experiment. Some of the coolest songs aren’t the songs that’ll get played on the radio, but the songs that tell little stories. I got to spend the majority of my time writing songs across all different genres that told those stories. I was eventually told ‘you’ve got to get in the studio and record something, because if you don’t, you might lose track of time and never settle down to record.’ So I looked at the songs I had- I’ve written in a lot of different genres and I wanted to give people a taste of a few different styles. I didn’t want to record in one genre. Once you give out one style on first impression, that’s what people see you as. You get boxed in, you get classified; if you claim you’re a country artist or alternative rock, whatever it may be. Once you’ve classified yourself, you start putting boundaries on your music. I stay classified as a singer/songwriter to keep that openness. What’s around the corner, what will I release next? I’ve written a lot of Cowboy Country, like what Michael Martin Murphy would have had, I’ve written traditional country, modern rock, pop. I didn’t release any Cowboy Country, I released songs that could cross over into other genres.”
With his talent and devotion to his music, it’s no wonder Wrinkle has seen interest from record labels. Rather than signing a deal right now, he is building his own team around him to build an independent brand. “There’s many artists who have paved a path for an independent style. Cody Johnson, who’s big here in Texas, Aaron Watson. They’ve never used a record label; they’ve just built a team around them and run with it. Making music independently gives you freedom; you don’t have to change your style to push what your label wants to push. I’ve been very fortunate; at seventeen I got to meet with executives at a young age. But I’ve had the opportunity to speak with a lot of people in the industry about the inside and the pressure a label can put on an artist. My idea here is to build a team of people that are experienced who can help me, coach me, give me advice on what to do and what not o do. Everything is falling in to place.”
Wrinkle is currently working on writing and recording more and building his management team for future albums and an upcoming tour. For more information, check out his website. You can also find Cameron Wrinkle on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook . Catch his EP, Younger Days, on Spotify and Apple Music.