California native Camaron Ochs (Cam) brings an anthemic and sensitive cadence to Nashville to make an impressive pop country debut on Untamed.
Cam wisely eschews the modern country grind machine to record some impressive and memorable tracks.
Hungover on Heartache is a classic example of a clichéd (yet killer) catchphrase that thrives on Music City stereotypes, but when one gets past the reference of recycled subjects, there’s a quality tune that’s worthy of Dolly Parton there.
Like Parton, Cam writes and co-writes her own material and shows star quality in her treatment of ballads.
Burning House is a delicate song with a backwoods Appalachian air. The finger picked melody brings out an old country ache in Cam’s vocal which conveys depth in easy measures.
As a vocalist, Cam is a true blue new country talent. She captures stirring inflections and delivers them with a silvery vocal sound not too far removed from Loretta Lynn or Tammy Wynette. Her choir girl background and song writing chops give her a casual way with a phrase while rolling the songs along.
Runaway Train takes an interesting and telling turn here. The song is a hard driving acoustic Americana tune done in an archaic country folk setting that’s reminiscent of Brandi Carlile.
There are similar signposts throughout Untamed: traditional laments, tales of heartache and loneliness and down home partying (Half Broke Heart, Want It All). Refreshingly, there is no reliance on sawing fiddles or overly processed electric guitars on the album. Untamed steers clear of the condominium rock/country syndrome. There are nods to word play and clichés but the arrangements and delivery are clever, emphasizing energy, back beat and a sassy vocal. The Parton influence resurfaces on Village, a dark and urgent ballad that show cases Cam’s voice as a stand-alone feature.
Untamed is a surprising sideswipe of an album with deep performance and promise and songs that tug at the imagination.
– Dean Gordon-Smith reviews the latest music releases for The Morning Star every Friday.