Cameron Matthews

Green. Blue. White.

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Maybe it's a function of being a 20-year-old college senior, but singer/songwriter Cameron Matthews, on the basis of his second album, Green. Blue. White., comes off as a musician ready to absorb any positive influence he comes across and unfettered as to how he uses those influences. A song may start with one tempo and melody, then suddenly change gears and styles in midstream, and go somewhere else. Early on, the album's songs exhibit a folk-rock character until, by the sixth track, "One by One," the music is reminiscent of R.E.M. by way of Neil Young & Crazy Horse. But in the album's second half, Matthews adopts more of a folk-blues style, which doesn't keep him from turning in an impassioned doo wop performance in "Today I Love You" that he tops with a kazoo solo. Just as the music is all over the place, so Matthews' voice is different from one song -- and one part of one song -- to another. Although he has been compared to Jeff Buckley, his voice is more similar to Tim Buckley's with its folk-jazz elasticity. The closest approximation may be to say that he sounds like a cross between another folk-jazz stalwart, Tim Hardin, and Harry Nilsson, especially in his upper register. He uses that voice to bridge the musical changes, not usually doing his lyrics any favors in terms of intelligibility, but creating varying effects that keep things constantly surprising. The listener never knows what turn the song is going to take next, or what will come in the following selection. At some point, Matthews may settle down into more conventional structures, but he may be better off following his instincts, if this promising sophomore effort is any indication.

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