Cameron Matthews
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Cameron Matthews

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"Homespun: Cameron Matthews Green. Blue. White. (Self-released)"

That Cameron Matthews is a talented songwriter and adept performer is apparent; he's a confident singer and an evocative, often incisive lyricist capable of mixing genres and styles. It's just not clear what kind of performer he is trying to be. Heart-on-sleeve singer-songwriter? Soft-touch crooner? White-boy bluesman? Angry young man? Matthews tries on all these hats (and more) on Green. Blue. White., his second full-length. At fifteen tracks and nearly 60 minutes, the album feels overstuffed. The incongruities abound with the stylistic chances Matthews takes, though his expressive, occasionally mewling voice can usually bear the weight. "Help Me Raze This Place" begins with a little pinch of basement grunge and ends with a big dose of vitriol, and a few tracks later "In Defense of J. Alfred Prufrock" shows a writer able to put his English major to good use.

Any singer-songwriter has to contend with the weight of influence, and the temptation to crib from the masters is even more tempting for someone as young as the twenty-year-old Saint Louis University junior. And while Matthews is more canny than most of his peers at assimilating his heroes' traits into his own work, the album contains a few tips of cap to his forebears. The ragged guitar and string flourishes of "Park Bench and City Boy Shooter" wouldn't feel out of place on Elliott Smith's Figure 8. Later, he gets his Ryan Adams jones a-brewin' on "One By One" (which ends with a Crazy Horse-inspired guitar jam), and the California dreaming of "Bungalow" would make Jack Johnson crack a beer in Matthews' honor.

But Matthews' music often stretches the skin of homage a little too tight. The tin-can vocals and scruffy blues of "Make It Rain" sound like a parody, and the doo-wop affectations of "Today I Love You" come off as cloying despite a few hairpin lyrical turns (the kazoo solo doesn't help, either). Matthews is best at letting the simple dynamics of guitar-led folk-rock take hold, as on the album-closing "Current is Too Slow Too Master." In the song, he lets the earthy, open chords of his guitar fill up as much space as his vocals. Mood isn't created by playing sonic dress-up — it's achieved through good lyrics and honest performances. About half of the songs here get that balance right. Those highlights burn brightly enough to suggest that Matthews has a lot to offer on his more focused efforts in the future.

By Christian Schaeffer - Riverfront Times


"SLU Student Hits All the Right Notes MTVU Concert"

Matthews, who classifies his solo music as indie-folk, cites an array of country- and classic-rock influences, including Emmylou Harris, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Ryan Adams. He also branches out by listening to experimental indie-rock group Broken Social Scene and rapper Dr. Dre.

A dedicated performer, Matthews has received rave reviews for his regular appearances at The Billiken Club, the University's on-campus concert venue that has featured national bands such as MU330 and Jump, Little Children. Matthews also has played at local underground rock haven the Creepy Crawl, in addition to locations throughout the hipster neighborhood The Loop.

"Whenever you get positive reactions from musicians who know what they are doing and have been playing professionally for a long time, the wheels start turning in your head," Matthews said. "You begin thinking, 'Maybe I do have it. Maybe I can do it.'"

Bolstered by his writing and performing since coming to SLU, Matthews entered mtvU's ongoing "Best Music on Campus" contest in March, which features winners' music and profiles on the Web. Through his entry, Matthews also opted into another contest for "Battle of the Bands," winners of which would play in Austin, Texas, for the music channel's Campus Invasion music festival.

- Allison Babka
http://www.slu.edu/x16835.xml - The University News


"Cameron Matthews | Old Soul, New Talent"

Here's the thing: When you listen to music for a living, sometimes it all starts to sound the same. You need some time off, quiet time, time to clear your palate, so to speak.

Finding that time to escape, though, that's my problem. And so my overloaded ears aren't always as open and receptive as they ought to be. That's why you'll usually find me back of the bar Tuesdays at Cicero's, working on my laptop and half listening to the bands. I booked 'em; I like 'em; job complete, right?

So it was with great surprise that I found myself utterly and completely blown away a few weeks back. Here was a performance that wowed in its uniqueness and timelessness. Here was an artist whose abilities-nay, genius-far surpassed his physiological age. The songs he sang had that grounded, deeply rooted feel; the lyrics were intelligent, introspective, at times poetic, his voice comfortable yet classic.

Cameron Matthews is just 19, yet already he's begun to make a name for himself around town. He's a student at Saint Louis University, majoring in English. But cast all that future planning aside, because I'm talking here and now. What Cameron Matthews really is is one hell of a songwriter and performer. Think Jeff Buckley meets Cold War Kids; throw in the pipes of Harry Nilsson and a whole lot of freshness. Cameron is an old, worn soul in a new package. He is the very definition of the "real deal."

"Maybe I've been reincarnated so many times that I'm just an old man in a young man's body," concedes Cameron. "Now I write about my surroundings to finally achieve moksha."

The wunderkind began playing music in bars about the same time the other boys were graduating to ten-speed bikes and groping girls in dark basements. "From the time I was about 14, I've been doing the bar scene," says Cameron. "I was the frontman of a funk/rock cover band in high school and we used to play every other weekend."

That experience, while certainly formative, provided enough of a glimpse into the future that young Cameron was ready to run the other way. "I had become so discontent with making money through playing other people's songs and dealing with the egos that I wanted to push things in different directions," he says. "I didn't want to play like that anymore; I wanted to be my own performer.

"I craved to play live," he continues. "It's some sort of cathartic and hallucinogenic experience."

In honing his craft, Cameron dove into music and musicians, drawing inspiration from such songwriters as Elliot Smith-"He is single-handedly the best songwriter of the past two decades, and he holds my hand when I write songs"-Ryan Adams-"He plays every genre and sings from the heart. He is a total diva and I hate him, but I love him at the same time"-and Bob Dylan. He's also influenced by country, indie rock, classic rock, delta blues and '80s wave. How's that for a disparate bag of tricks?

"I may sound like I am a student of rock 'n' roll, but really I'm just a beginner."

Some highlights on the performer's resume...

In 2007, with very little forethought, a then-18-year-old Cameron uploaded some songs to bestmusiconcampus.com; a week later, he got a call from MTVU's Zach Papale, inviting him to play a gig in Austin, Texas, with the likes of The Shins, The Academy Is, The Rapture and Shiny Toy Guns. "Holy fuck!" says Cameron. "Whirlwind of excitement. And then, all of a sudden, it ended. Nothing came of the show. Nothing at all. I thought to myself, is that it?

"I'm afraid of terminal musicality and the prospect that I will be (a) a hyped-up one-hit wonder like Vampire Weekend, or (b) out of the game forever because I refuse to play what people think is popular."

Maybe it's time we rethink popular. There are a couple more examples that maybe this is just what's happening. This past February, Cameron played a NACA showcase-you know, the people who book high-paying gigs at colleges across the country? He's got another showcase lined up in the fall, and has also recently signed with booking company Talent Plus. While the road's not yet paved in gold, if he keeps chipping away with the same determined brilliance, he's bound to get to the shiny underbelly. To say things are looking good for this young troubadour would be an understatement...kind of akin to saying that Cameron Matthews is just another local musician. Here is a man driven to perform, to follow his muse.

"I'm old enough to know that the future is mine to make," he says, ever wise beyond his years. "I guess that my ultimate goal is to reach a place of maturity, some sort of clean ground that's way up high where I can let go of everything that I've done and be an adult and grasp what it is to be wise, to have gone through the worst and the best, to be able to teach those who will be where I am now." No small goal, that. But then, Cameron Matthews is no ordinary musician. | Laura Hamlett

http://www.playbackstl.com/content/view/7883/157/ - Laura Hamlett @ PLAYBACK:stl


"Magnum opus from nascent Missouri chameleon"

Cameron Matthews "Green. Blue. White" (Independent, 2008)
Magnum opus from nascent Missouri chameleon

20 year old wunderkind Cameron Matthews belies his youth by clearly being firmly tuned in to the classic song-writing blueprint of Elliot Smith, Ryan Adams, Young and Dylan, but with enough of a quirky slant and, more importantly, personality to offer something uniquely his own.

Among a barrage of strong material competing for a spotlight on this debut album ‘Give You Up For Lent’ possesses a wonderful melodic sway and simple dream-like chorus reminiscent of ‘Cold Roses’-era Ryan Adams. In fact, elsewhere (‘One by One’, ‘Help Me Raze This Place’) the ghost of Adams stays close by virtue of some tough, and welcome, Cardinal-eque rock moves.

Matthews is a beguiling, at times fascinating Narrator, often with a hint of the playful in his voice, and in addition to the strong arrangements & melodic ideas, it’s some of the more experimental tracks that stand-out by virtue of their plain weirdness. ‘Parkbench & City Boy Shooter’ saunters off with a strolling rock swagger, wanders into the oddest ‘70s-themed disco you can imagine and then straight out the backdoor again and into a fist-fight, as if it were the most normal thing in the world to be doing. Confounding but captivating

‘In Defense of J. Alfred Prufrock’, ‘C.C. Mama’ & ‘Bungalow’ offer more plaintive acoustic backdrops, and the perfect foil for Matthews’ idiosyncratic narratives, love songs, observations and come-ons.

Lightening the mood, quirky ‘Today I love You’ briefly brings to mind Patsy Cline’s ‘Crazy’ being karaoke-fied by a shockingly drunk Jeff Buckley (kazoo solo & all) before collapsing into a libidinous emotional heap.

He may not be ashamed of signposting some of his musical heroes, but Cameron Matthews is an often remarkable and original talent, and at 15 full (and really rather strong) songs, ‘Green. Blue. White’ adds up to an embarrassment of riches that if there’s any justice in the world, will see him elevated to the major league.

Date review added: Monday, January 19, 2009
Reviewer: Ian Fildes
Reviewers Rating: 8 out 10 stars - Americana UK


"Cameron Matthews: green. blue. white."

Twenty-year-old Cameron Matthews is not much for pop hooks, but he sure has a gift for understated lo-fi beauty, not to mention confident, uncluttered vocals. Playing less like an album and more like a collection of his 15 latest musical loves, green. blue. white. effortlessly glides from the ‘50s R&B style of “Today I Love You,” to a the domestic Dylan exercise “Bungalow,” to the humorously titled but no less seriously excellent “Give You Up For Lent,” and even that “through the telephone” spooky blues effect on “Make it Rain.” The album really starts to approach classic touches by the fifth song and never looks back, culminating in the 6/4 rocker “Mirror” that channels Jeff Buckley filtered through Joseph Arthur in a jam with his bandmates – bassist Patrick Crecelius, drummer Danny Sher and guitarist Nicholas Risler – that breathes with the kind of dynamics one expects from veteran professionals. This talented Midwestern kid sounds like he has an earth-shattering album slowly gestating inside of him, and if green. blue. white. is any indication, he’s well on his way there. The fact that he’s more of a natural singer than most indie rockers will surely work in his favor in the long run. (self-released 2008) - ESDMUSIC.COM


""Singing's Gonna Bring Mama back to her Place""

An acoustic guitar sets the mode for Cameron to whisper secrets about CC Mama that I may not want to hear, but his music insists I listen, so I may as well enjoy the tale. “It’s hard to say you’ve lost when you’ve already died,” he whispers melodically. The guitar does all the emoting in this song, and by the end is filled with vengeance. Delicious vengeance. At first the rhythm supports the narration, but before 2 minutes and 20 are over the rhythm argues with the narrator, creating an atmosphere of ‘watch out for me world, I’m coming’. Nice work. - EARTASTER.COM


"Green. Blue. White. - Review"

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. ~ William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide - All Music Guide


"Local folk rocker Matthews releases CD Friday at Cicero’s"

Local Americana singer-songwriter Cameron Matthews will celebrate the release of his new CD, Green. Blue. White., this Friday with a show at Cicero’s.

Matthews swings from hushed acoustic musings to raucous electric freakouts on the guitar-heavy album and his live show should not disapoint tomorrow.

Cameron Matthews CD release party with Via Dove, Stars Go Dim and Patrick Crecelius

Cicero’s, 6691 Delmar, 9 pm, $6

- Matt Fernandes - St. Louis Post-Dispatch


Discography

Green, Blue White (forthcoming 2008)

Cameron Matthews: An Introspective (2006)

Tracks available on Itunes and Rhapsody; links at: www.myspace.com/ctmatthews

Other tracks can be heard at:
www.myspace.com/xmasbearband

Blog and Free Downloads:
www.westminsterlab.blogspot.com

Photos

Bio

At twenty-one years of age Cameron Matthews had already opened for the biggest indie band in the world, the Shins, and self-released a locally and internationally acclaimed album all while still in college at Saint Louis University.

As a college freshman Matthews’ career jumped into high gear when he won the
MTVu Best Music on Campus competition. He was flown down to Austin, TX to perform on the same bill as the Rapture, Shiny Toy Guns, and The Shins.

The post-graduate English major is currently working on several new projects with St. Louis
producer Patrick Crecelius (Radical Sons, Fred Friction) and Lexington, KY’s own
Duane Lundy (Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Ben Sollee, These United States).

The past year has also seen this nascent star performing at CMJ music festival in New York City,
as well as several NACA performances at colleges across the US.

Matthews’ music is full of contradictions – still and moving, loud and enigmatic, airborne yet
grounded. His oxymoronic motives coupled with distinct attention to sonic detail make this
young man more of a scientist than a musician. A magician rather than a poet.

In 2009, Matthews changed his stage name to Bear Ceuse, solidifying his desire to be a performer with a distinct identity separate from his own.

Bear Ceuse does not have a connection to modern or past themes of music. 80s inspired shoegaze, futuristic noisescapes, layered aesthetic charms, and honest, defenseless
writings are what make his music a celebratory experience. Born in rock n’ roll, and bathed
in the God-fearing waters of the Missouri river, the music speaks for itself.