Steph Cameron – Daybreak Over Jackson Street
The latest offering from Canadian Steph Cameron is a little deceptive on first listen. The opening track, and title track ‘Daybreak Over Jackson Street’ features upbeat guitar picking and a hint of vulnerability on Cameron’s vocal that makes the listener think this is going to be a happy ode to a former hometown. It isn’t.
It quickly becomes apparent that the song is about the increase in deprivation and poverty sweeping across small towns worldwide fuelled by unemployed, homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse. It’s clever, observational and a great opener that makes the listener take note of the descriptive power contained within the lyrics. Definitely a song for the current age of austerity.
There is wistful reflectiveness and maturity contained in the lyrics of ‘Young And Living Free’ that makes it sound like it was written by a much older, world-weary songwriter.
‘On My Mind’ takes on a more familiar blues/folk sound and picks up on themes of drug abuse. With the inclusion of harmonica on this track and darker exploration of drug abuse in the lyrics, there’s clearly a steer into Bob Dylan or Johnny Cash territory on this one.
‘Little Blue Bird’ lightens the tone somewhat with it’s folksier sound and in places, and tips its hat to the late Woodie Guthrie in the vocal phrasing and guitar picking style used throughout.
‘Peace Is Hard To Find’ takes the listener into classic Pete Seeger territory with is guitar riff and darker mood. This is a future classic and one that will feature on many anti-war playlists.
Across all eleven tracks, ‘Daybreak Over Jackson Street’ is a captivating listen. Steph Cameron mixes folk and country music with strong descriptive, observational and often biting lyrics that hark back to the early 60s protest songs of Dylan, Guthrie and Seeger.
Her guitar style is enthralling to listen to as she weaves words and music together that takes the listener on a journey through a myriad of vivid landscapes and settings that while tinged with that hint of sixties etherealness also brings the grimness of real life to the fore.