‘I apologise for saying fuck so many times,” says Camaron Ochs. “It’s like when you guys say bollocks.” If you hadn’t known before her show that Cam was an advocate for diversity and free speech, you did by the end. She’s one of Nashville’s most potent truth-tellers, and if she is less recognisable than fellow travellers Kacey Musgraves and Maren Morris, it is probably because she hasn’t released new music since her 2015 major-label debut, Untamed, which yielded the hit Burning House.

That will be rectified this autumn, she informs us, to which one can only respond: bring it on. California-born, she does a remarkable job of fusing west coast liberalism and traditional country tropes during the show. There is a banjo player on stage, and Ochs’s clear, true voice twangs in the right aching places while wearing a silver dress that Dolly Parton would envy. Contrastingly, the warm, engaging set is underpinned by modern dictates: don’t slut-shame, she tells us on the country-pop bop My Mistake, that hails a girl who enjoys every minute of a one-night stand. Introducing it, she says: “I’ve been called ‘sex positive’, but guys can sing about sex and nobody labels them.”

A clear, true voice ... Cam.

A clear, true voice … Cam. Photograph: Gus Stewart/Redferns

On the furiously percussive Diane, a married man’s girlfriend apologises to his wife. “Sing this extra loud so those women get the apology they deserve,” she directs the crowd. Later she duets with opening act Sam Williams, grandson of Hank, on the song that inspired it, Parton’s Jolene. Before performing a crushingly tender version of Palace, co-written with Sam Smith, she chortles that she and Smith were a modern-day Romeo and Juliet – “a straight woman and a gorgeous gay man”. Everything about Cam rings true, and that will stand her in good stead.

At the Leadmill, Sheffield, on 5 September and Manchester Academy on 6 September.


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