Brand new country singer Cam has released her first EP since signing with Arista Nashville, and its title, Welcome to Cam Country, is a perfect fit. This collection of songs is everything that country music ought to be. Its lyrics are clever, the production is clean and fresh, it is infectious but still credible—Cam has certainly crafted her own subgenre of country music and Cam Country seems like a wonderful place to live.
Everything about these four tracks feels natural. The lyrics are metaphorical without trying too hard, with lines that are poetic without becoming forced comparisons to obligatory country music motifs. On the second track, "Burning House," an enchanting love song that has already garnered radio play as a single, Cam compares a failing relationship to a burning house, rather than, say, a John Deere that just won’t start. The production of the EP is also essential to its merit—Jeff Bhasker and Tyler Johnson have avoided the tired, washed-out sound of many albums that try to hold onto the classic country music sound. Welcome to Cam Country is not pop-country, but it doesn’t sound outdated, either. It is completely modern but with that classic sound. This is a balance that is rare, especially with top radio hits. (The debut albums from Edens Edge and Maddie & Tae managed to capture this fresh production as well, thanks to the miraculous Dann Huff, who produced both of those albums.)
This bar is shutting down / I don’t mind if you walk me out /
oh, that’s kinda what life’s about
Welcome to Cam Country has substantial lyrics, irresistible hooks, and all the elements of a respectable radio hit and award-winner. Should Cam’s future full-length album match the quality of her EP, it would be quite a feat, and a gift to us all. We need more music like this on our country stations and our iPods.