ToC Critic’s Pick: Cam, ‘Untamed’
The vulnerable flutter Cam fans hear on "Burning House" still wavers when the singer gets dirty. On Untamed, her debut album on Arista Nashville, the Californian proves she's more — so much more — than a pretty voice.
The 11 songs bring depth and variety. Rare is there an album that one hears and thinks "she has more to give." That's the case on Untamed. It's clear Cam has just begun to tell her story.
At times, the newcomer's lyrics get lost in the production, but Jeff Bhasker and Tyler Johnson take sweet liberties with the Nashville sound. Listen to the album through headphones to hear a new fill, lick, backing vocal or riff every time. Some — like the descending bass line at the bridge on the opening track "Untamed" — are frightening. But like anything new, what's scary becomes beautiful if given time.
While dirty country-blues songs like "Untamed" and "Runaway Train" add tempo and grit, the best songs are mostly ballads. "Burning House" is simply perfect. Her pained performance is repeated on songs like "Village" and "Cold in California."
“I’ve got a soft spot for those / With wind in their soul / It ain’t funny what I love is what made you go," she sings.
Cam doesn't show tremendous range, but ever lilting word rides on a dozen notes like she's Dolly Parton. Bhasker and Johnson add variety while staying true, but not hopelessly faithful, to what country fans expect. Everyone involved on this project pushes the boundaries. Untamed truly is.
Key Tracks: "Burning House," "Cold in California," "Runaway Train," "Country Ain't Never Been Pretty"
Did You Know?: Cam has visited over 20 countries.
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