Update: Cammie Ward is now donating 100% of her debut album’s profits to a close personal friend who was made a paraplegic due to domestic violence. All purchases are still valid, and we recommend you go out and spread the word.
Few things sound as haunting as Gregorian chants or Tori Amos on a weird poetry trip; few things in North Carolina scare me like the hundreds of Appalachian and coastal folk tales of ghosts or dead pirates. We Carolinians are not known for our hypnotic female vocalist prospects, but there is one rare gem hiding amidst the outskirts of the evil known as Charlotte, and her name is Cammie Ward.
This is Chamber Music by Sia, the only means by which Amy Lee could be taken seriously, a new face in the crowd of Lilith Fair alumni (newly failing resurrection aside). From a 14-year-old kid with music in her soul to a 20-something pianist on an alto plateau, she puts the sounds first and emanates potency the likes of which most people her age could only aspire to accomplish. Prodigious, no; prolific, possibly, but in the end, it’s all about the atmosphere.
Her debut release, The Practice, was independently promoted and hailed by everyone from brother Levi Neely — who contributes some very Santana/Gilmour-style guitar to the proceedings – to relatively unknown screenwriter Brian Wilson. In addition to Neely, Ward has also collaborated with drummer and studio engineer “Bongo” John Metcalf to create layers of both folk and jazz amidst her deep, dark melodies.
While initially, her first and only album thus far might drone on for the inattentive ear, each track gradually delves into subtle complexity step by step, before introducing more instruments along the way – a melancholy parade of rounds, complete with Neely’s guitar and Ward’s ominous-yet-captivating vocals. Stand-out song “Coming Around” opens on a Pink Floyd note before entering Ward’s signature presence of simplicity meets reality (“Remember they don’t know you that well/there is a way out as far as I can tell”); “You Hurt Me” adds some tight drum work to the already powerful piece; introductory track “Babble” is probably the best summary of Ward’s direction throughout The Practice, showing off merely her and her lovely piano for under two minutes before diving right into her exquisite title song.
Consequence Of Sound prides itself on giving unknowns appropriate showtime across our site, and Cammie Ward graces us with her presence on talent and merit alone. Her album is readily available on Amazon, CDBaby, and iTunes, so feel free to scope it out. Ward is an angel of the Piedmont, a darling of the Southeast, and I am proud that she calls my state home. Finally, something to boast about besides Ben Folds and Superchunk (though we love them dearly, also).