Cameron Dezen

Mary's Daughter

album review

More Cameron Dezen:
Love + Rescue Review

Review © 2001 Justin Elswick
HTML © 2001 Russell W Elliot
Formatted for 800 x 600 or larger windows
Originally published 23 March 2001
Last updated: 25 September 2005
Cameron Dezen-Mary's Daughter
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Image © 2000 Cameron Dezen

Mary's Daughter, the debut album by Cameron Dezen is a timely arrival. Both melodic and funky, Dezen's music explores the bounds of folk, electronica, trip-hop, and r&b much in the same way that Dido, Sinead Lohan, and Tara MacLean have done recently. Although such genre-crossing may sound risky, Dezen pulls it off with much success. Born in New York City, and raised in a theatrical family, Dezen studied voice and creative writing in high school and college. For some time she performed in clubs and art galleries in Pittsburgh before recording Mary's Daughter.

Dezen has, in the past, informally collaborated with several hip hop producers (which may help explain the surprisingly urban tone of several of the tracks on Mary's Daughter). On her first outing, Dezen has recruited the talents of jazz and hip-hop instrumentalist AB+, who co-produced the album with her.

Appreciation for the music contained on Mary's Daughter is increased when one realizes that Cameron Dezen wrote and co-produced the album as well as contributing her piano skills (by the way…a big hand for Don Q who provided turntables and scratches on the recording…those "scratchers" rarely receive the praise they deserve!).

Cameron Dezen 2003
Image © Heather Conley 2003

Vocally, Dezen shares much in common with folk-singer Dar Williams. Here, however, the music skillfully combines the best of troubadour stylings, modern beats, and ambient flourishes. Although the album is one that is highly listenable from start to finish, several tracks standout.

The closing track, "You Appear and I Write," is simply lovely and will certainly appeal to fans of Sarah McLachlan's "Do What You Have to Do" with its vibrant and intense melody. Dezen deserves credit for allowing her heart to show through her voicings.

"Undermind" is outrageous with a baroque-sounding intro played on harpsichord and a wickedly groovy backbeat. The over-dubbed vocal harmonies actually call to mind the best of the r&b group En Vogue. The original mix of the tune "Forever Young" is near-perfection--sparsely adorned with reverberating synth and Dezen's sweet undulating voice working a lullaby effect.

So many excellent creative decisions have been made on this album that it is difficult to know where to begin. It is not difficult to predict that Cameron Dezen's name will soon be a widely-know one. We eagerly await more from this talented chanteuse.--Justin Elswick in Provo, Utah and Russ Elliot in New York

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