First off, I should say that I’m not generally a fan of female singer/songwriters. I don’t know why, really; maybe it’s because the majority that I’ve heard seem to be either too saccharine-sweet or overly arty, one or the other. I’ve got a couple of friends who’re crazy about nearly every female pop/rock/alt-country star out there, and a lot of the time, I just don’t get it. It all just seems to blend together, to me, into a big mess of same-sounding voices and guitars. If all the Avril Lavignes and Jewels of the world disappeared tomorrow, I wouldn’t miss ’em one bit.
Cameron Dezen, on the other hand, is something special. She can fall into that too-sweet trap, it’s true (my wife told me at one point that while she liked it, it was almost like listening to Christian rock), but she’s got such a clear, pure-as-a-bell voice that I find myself not even caring. I honestly haven’t been affected like this by too many singers, male or female — at the risk of upping the shmaltz level to “Corny,” I’d almost say that her voice makes my heart hurt. It’s weird, but in a good way. “Waiting (The Promise),” the first track on her second album, Love + Rescue — she’s got an earlier one called Mary’s Daughter, but I haven’t heard it — swoops and soars gracefully and poignantly, without any of the standard tricks and frills all those “divas” use to make themselves sound like real singers. This is the real thing, right here. Heck, she could be a soloist in a church choir (and maybe she is, for all I know), just going by the simple, clean way she sings.
Anyway, Ms. Dezen’s apparently a NYC native (if the last name sounds familiar, that’s because her brother Alexis is the lead singer of NY rockers The Damnwells), but she moved down here a few years back to get hitched to local producer/musician guy Matt Hammon, who these days plays solo and backs his wife on guitar. He’s also responsible, I think (along with L.A.-based producer David Rice, who I think I used to see at shows here in H-town…), for the little electronic touches scattered throughout the record. No Cher-wannabe morphing vocals, don’t worry (at least, not as far as I can tell), just some drum loops and such…
After hearing the CD, I was a little nervous about seeing Dezen live, figuring that there was no way the performance could match up to the recorded stuff — it’s a lot easier, after all, to sing like an angel when you can do a hundred-plus takes ’til you get it right. Thankfully, I was totally wrong, and Cameron Dezen live was absolutely as mesmerizing as on my car stereo. Go see this lady when you can, seriously.
- Cameron Dezen Hammon, Words Don’t Bleed
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