Cam puts a psychological spin on country pop | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Cam puts a psychological spin on country pop

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Cam’s lyrics cut to the core of interpersonal relationships like a breakthrough in a therapy session, perhaps because the California singer-songwriter studied psychology and worked as a researcher before pursuing her country-pop dreams. On her 2017 single “Diane,” she gives a voice to the auburn-haired strumpet of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” responding to the original tune’s anguished wife: “I promise I didn’t know he was your man / Diane, I would have noticed a gold wedding band.” The insight into the inner workings of the human psyche that fuels Cam’s songs hasn’t gone unnoticed. Miley Cyrus sings Cam’s “Maybe You’re Right” on her 2013 album, Bangerz (a marvelous rendition that allows Cyrus to reclaim a bit of her country soul), and pop/R&B crooner Sam Smith picked Cam as an opener on his 2018 tour. Smith also included a cover of Cam’s “Palace” on his 2017 record The Thrill of It All (though I prefer Cam’s clear but brokenhearted version). Though Cam hasn’t put out a new album since 2015’s Untamed (Arista Nashville), she’s kept herself busy touring, writing, and making occasional guest appearances on tracks by other artists—sometimes even blowing them away. Her singing on Diplo’s recent single “So Long” reinforces how much I like Cam’s voice and how bored I am by Diplo’s beats. Last year she released the sparse, lovely country single “Road to Happiness” on her new label, RCA, and I hope its gentle pedal steel and focus on her bright voice are part of the journey Cam takes on future recordings.   v

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