The Rebecca West, a folk trio that has roots in both the East and West Coast, have made a wonderful debut recording titled Lost And Found (which can be purchased on here) and perform concerts mostly in a sparse setting with vocals and 2 guitars that seem to allow a brilliant harmony to reveal itself and resonate, as I witnessed when they opened for Dar Williams at a concert in NYC.
The group’s Cameron Dezen Hammon had a few minutes to speak with me.
CM: Please explain the origin of the name of the group.
Cameron: The Rebecca West is an homage to Rebecca West, British writer, early 20th century. She is acknowledged by some as the first “feminist” writer. She wrote a book about Yugoslavia called “Black Lamb and Grey Falcon,” that’s Matt’s favorite book. We were kicking around names for the band and I suggested Rebecca West, which morphed into “The Rebecca West”
CM: The sound of the vocals is superb! How long was it before you realized it would work as a trio?
Cameron: Alex and I have been harmonizing since we were kids. For some reason I got to sing melodies, maybe because I was bossy, and he learned to pick out harmonies from an early age. Matt and I sang “Leather and Lace”- Stevie Nicks & Don Henley- together one of the first times we ever hung out. I loved the tone of his voice, scratchy and sexy. I knew I had a keeper.
CM: The concert with Dar Williams was a wonderful show! You were saying onstage that this was such a great experience and that you were Dar Williams fans. How did the opportunity to play with her come about?
Cameron: Alex did a short west coast tour with her last year, and when the opportunity came for him to open for her again, he asked if he could do it with us, as a trio. She said yes! Her audience is just wonderful. It’s really something to see how a songwriter can cultivate an audience like that– it’s like a family.
CM: I’ve been enjoying “Next of Kin” from the CD, and it sounded great live too! Is it true that the song is about a Serbian war criminal?
Cameron: Yes, it’s about Ratko Mladic and was inspired by this news story. Mladic was on the run for sixteen years and they caught him on Matt’s birthday in 2011. We sat down that day and wrote “Next of Kin.”
CM: What are the plans for the next CD?
Cameron: We’ve been writing songs every time we get together– we wrote one backstage at Symphony Space after the Dar Williams show! So it’s just a matter of us carving out the time to get together and record them. Since Alex lives in LA and we live in Houston, it’s a little tricky, but we’re planning on getting these new songs recorded sometime early next year.
The Rebecca West ~ Here Comes The Rain Again (Eurythmics cover)