Singer-songwriter Cam isn’t exactly what anyone would call a traditionalist, but there’s something her delivery that recalls a classic era of country music and evokes revered icons like Patsy Cline.
Recently the “Burning House” singer made those associations quite clear when she performed Cline’s “Sweet Dreams” on the Grand Ole Opry. Setting the song up with a story about her grandparents’ horse ranch in southern California, Cam recalls her grandmother and grandfather’s love story and how music played into it.
“When it was real late, they would turn on a song like this and the two of them would slow dance together,” she says, as the band strikes up “Sweet Dreams.” There’s no mistaking the clarity of tone Cam shares with Cline — the audience notices it and cheers as well — but she uses some of her own inflections to tease out the song’s lingering heartbreak.
Cam’s debut album Untamed (released today) doesn’t feature any classic country cover tunes, but does include the future classic Top Ten hit “Burning House” as well as the sex-positive single “My Mistake.” Part of what has set her apart from the crowd is the fact that her sound developed before she had a clue what was working or not on country radio.
“The tricky thing is making sure you don’t feel pressured or insecure enough that you should be doing something else,” she told Rolling Stone Country. “And the fact that I got to create this music before I was fully in the system, I think that helped me. . . there was nothing else I could’ve leaned on. And I also think it’s really important not to tread on other people’s stuff. Be yourself, and don’t accidentally get in someone else’s lane!”
In January, Cam will join up with Brad Paisley’s winter tour featuring Eric Paslay.