Cameron Dezen Hammon is a singer, songwriter, poet, and essayist taking on the pop music patriarchy with a feminine interpretation of eleven, iconic songs from the 80s, originally performed by male artists, in a new album project through Pledgemusic. Cameron has performed all over the U.S as a solo performer and with her band “The Rebecca West,” which was featured on the syndicated PBS television show Oxford Sounds. As a writer, her essays and poems have been published in NYLON Magazine, Role/Reboot, Columbia Poetry Review, Gigantic Sequins, and elsewhere. “Words Don’t Bleed” is her third self-produced solo album.
"Elmore is premiering Hammon’s video for Don Henley’s warm-weather anthem, “The Boys of Summer.” Hammon told Elmore of the classic track and her plan for the shoot, “[it] was one of the first songs I chose to record for my album… For the video, I wanted to play into the nostalgia from the original song and video, but add in an element of decay, and a little bit of darkness. When were were filming, which we did in Galveston, Texas on a rainy day in March, the city felt haunted, abandoned by the crowds of happy sun worshipers, and vacationers. All that was left were the empty amusement park rides and beaches, which is a lot like the feeling you get when a relationship has ended. We wanted to capture that.” She continues, adding an extra, macabre tidbit, “Fun fact: the cemetery where we shot is one of the oldest in Texas, and contains many graves dating back to before the civil war. A local Houston magazine calls Galveston “the most haunted city in America,” and we wanted to infuse “The Boys of Summer,” a song about lost youth and lost love, with that sense of something darker and mysterious.”
"Hammon, along with cellist Aimee Norris and guitarist Jimmy Cardoza, visited Houston Public Media’s Geary Studio to record The Cure’s haunting 1985 song “A Night Like This,” as well as Robert Palmer’s iconic 1986 hit “Addicted to Love.” As a bonus, Hammon also performed her original song “Mixtape.”
"The last time singer/songwriter CAMERON DEZEN HAMMON made a solo record, it was 2005. It’s been a while. To ease back into recording after 10 years of playing church music, she has recorded an album of cover versions of songs by male artists, enlisting the help of JIMMY CARDOZA (electric guitar), JJ COLE (electric guitar), AIMEE NORRIS (cello), MATT HAMMON (acoustic guitar) and JAY SNIDER (programming, percussion, bass guitar, keyboards, coffee). On Words Don’t Bleed, Cameron inter- prets songs by DON HENLEY (yes, that one), ROBERT PALMER, Simple Minds, The Cure and New Order, with a version of HALL & OATES’ “Maneater” that she has something to say about."
"New York-born, Houston-based singer/poet/essayist Cameron Dezen Hammon just released her album of beautifully reimagined covers of pop songs from the 80s. “The meta-narrative of many pop songs from the 80s is of mental illness in women,” Hammon says. “It’s a cultural trope, the crazy ex-girlfriend. It’s so commonly used we don’t even think of it as derogatory. These are the songs I grew up on, and have always loved, but as an adult I wanted to be able to sing these songs from an empowering perspective.”
"One thing I found unique about this record was Hammon’s choice to stick with the original pronouns used in the lyrics. For example, the track ‘True Faith’ includes the line “when I was a very small boy, very small boys talked to me,” which could easily have been changed to “small girl” but Hammon saw it as an empowering moment. “There are very small boys and small girls and many generations of men and women in me. It’s the idea that all of the generations are what we are made of, so definitely I found it more interesting to keep the pronouns.”
The fluidity of gender in the lyrics also lends itself to be more of an homage to love in many different forms. “That’s the other thing about this record, it’s for everyone, so why not keep the gender fluid in what you’re discussing and what you’re singing about. I think that’s more interesting and it makes it accessible to more people.”
"Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire” is my personal hands-down favorite of the songs covered on Words, which made me both excited and nervous, because taking something that’s — to me, anyway — a classic and trying to make it your own is a risky undertaking. This version feels reverential and true to the original, however, although it comes off a lot less sexual than the original, which is possibly for the best — I love the song, but that aspect’s always felt a little creepy, to be honest.
Instead, the song seems to draw from Hammon’s background in worship music; the way she does it here, it’s not a barely-restrained come-on, it’s a hymn, full of glory and sincere adoration, and that’s a beautiful, beautiful shift in both tone and meaning. And it works, best of all. Hammon’s taken one of The Boss’s best-known, best-loved songs and changed it into something very, very different while keeping it amazing, and that’s no small feat.
And now that I’m thinking about it, that statement probably applies to all of the songs on here, to one extent or another. They’re all somebody’s “classic” song, like “I’m On Fire” is classic to me, and Hammon’s taken them and remade them into something new and wonderful."
Jimmy Cardoza - electric guitar
JJ Cole - electric guitar
Aimee Norris - cello
Matt Hammon - acoustic guitar
Jay Snider - programming, percussion, bass guitar, keyboards, coffee
Cameron Dezen Hammon - vocals, background vocals, piano
Produced by Cameron Dezen Hammon and Jay Snider
Recorded, Engineered, and Mixed by Jay Snider
Arrangements by Cameron Dezen Hammon, Jay Snider, and Alex Dezen
Mastered by Bob Boyd at Ambient Digital
*additional mastering by Ty Robins at Bravebird Music
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