Kasey Chambers

Kasey Chambers
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In early 2004, Kasey Chambers announced to the world that she was naming her third album Wayward Angel - and this title, for the follow-up to 2002's Barricades & Brickwalls, instantly felt like a natural fit. Wayward Angel is a self-referential moniker which sums up the sugar'n'spice of this most singular Australian performer - a choice of phrase which cups in its hand Kasey's past, present and future and which, importantly, puts her sense of herself right up front. A little bit gritty, partly born of tradition, partly of the times. More than a little bit country, with a healthy dose of rock & roll. Wayward Angel, as ever with Chambers' work, is a songwriter's album. Sure there are hits, in the same way that "Not Pretty Enough" proved the breakthrough on Barricades. (Chief amongst them here are songs like "Stronger", "Bluebird" and "Hollywood".) But Wayward Angel is a honed statement - a true album which also manages plenty of light and shade, moving effortlessly through Kasey's maturing moods. "I think I'm much more of an album artist, rather than having big radio songs," says the singer/songwriter. "I think that's what's allowed me to build [an audience] up til now, and that's the way we're going with this album too." Kasey named this record after the only song on the album written for her infant son. Anyone who's followed her amazing trajectory will already know her life has changed immeasurably during recent years - moving through her stunning debut as a solo artist to the true establishment of herself as a music-making force, relocating from the locales of her childhood and adolescence to start a new life and family on the central coast of NSW. All of these factors have been crucial in bringing Kasey to the creation of a brand new album that's a brand new chapter - pivotal and forward looking. The record opens with "Pony" - an infectious first cut featuring the baritone guitar of Shawn Colvin/Eagles alumni Steuart Smith. "We named the guitar Barry," Kasey laughs, "Barry the Baritone. I just knew I wanted my album to start with that guitar - it's just the coolest guitar sound in the world." "Hollywood" follows, one of the last songs Kasey wrote before the Wayward Angel sessions. "This is not Hollywood," she sings, "there is no camera in my room... This is not Hollywood, this is my life." Together with "For Sale" (in the album's second half), the pair of tracks deals with fame and with Kasey's position as a public figure. She's certainly not tetchy about the fact that she's become a recognisable face: more than many artists, she truly treasures her audience. "I'm really lucky to be in the position I'm in," Kasey says. "I would never want to seem like I'm complaining. I don't get mobbed and when people come up and talk to me they're always really nice." But for a relaxed gal like Kasey, for whom fame has never been the end prize, songs like these provide a place to reflect: "You can buy my life on radio, order me by mail, not everything about me is for sale." "Stronger" has more than a touch of the rollicking side of Lucinda Williams about it. And that's neither surprising (given Kasey's strong relationship with Americana's first lady) nor disappointing. A big stonking clarion call of a song, it is built from its core around Chambers' familiar band structure, with a good dose of Hammond thrown in. These welcome organ sounds on Wayward Angel (courtesy of Clayton Doley) are exemplary of tweaks to Kasey's usual arrangement style - little shifts in instrumental mood which arose when she and producer/brother Nash put their heads together in the studio. Like on "Paper Aeroplane" - the beautiful, sorrowful lament of an old man who has lost his wife, perfectly rendered with nothing more than vocal by Kasey and piano by leading Australian player Bill Risby. There are three songs on the album co written with Kasey's real life partner. "I don't usually co write with people, I find it a bit difficult. I guess we could write together [in this instance] because we feel so comfortable with each other." The collaboration spawned, notably, "More Than Ordinary", a track defined by a soft but strong chorus hook which underpins the questions of a rejected lover: "Was I ever really more than ordinary? ... Did you ever need me like I need you now?" But before the inevitable queries surface about how Kasey and her beau could write such a heartbreak song together, Chambers laughs and says that the track just kind of "fell out". "Not every song is always written about what's going on right now. Sometimes you're thinking back to something that happened a while ago. Or sometimes you're not even putting yourself into the situation - it could be about someone else." Such statements are testimony to Kasey's song writing maturity. Like her idol and occasional collaborator Paul Kelly, she takes an observational step back in many of her songs. And also like Kelly and many of her other heroes - like Fred Eaglesmith, Patti Griffin or Matthew Ryan - she has a particular knack for using the most simplistic language in the most evocative fashion, turning everyday phrases into poetry and managing familiarity without clich. "Have you ever been held before like honey to the bee? I've never been held before like you hold me," she sings on the album's first single "Like A River". "I'll sell my soul like a sinner if it means you'll never go..." It's three years since Kasey Chambers last recorded an album - and while that's been three long years for her fans, it's a period throughout which she developed her song writing craft and, as both performer and music fan, nurtured her ear so that in the studio with Nash and Jeff McCormack she could bring these 14 songs to full realisation. ("I tried to get the number of songs on the album down by a couple, but in the end I just couldn't do it," Kasey says. "All the songs that are on there just really felt like they had to be.") There are plenty of other highlights not even mentioned here - like the bluegrass banjo on the title track, the way that Nash Chambers has captured his sister's voice on this album like never before, and all of the amazing players along for the ride (including Jeff and Rod McCormack, harmony vocalist Glen Hannah, Steuart Smith, Mark Punch, Bill Chambers and the drummers John Watson and Kere Buchanan). No words on paper will convey the breadth, depth nor charm of Wayward Angel. The best document to express the album is, of course, the album itself. But if it must be described, then here is all you need to know: that this is a record which is organic and highly evolved at once, where 14 outstanding songs have been fashioned into one seamless whole. "I did write these songs over a fairly long time period and they're about heaps of different subjects, but they've all come together really, really well," says Kasey, with trademark modesty. She adds: "I'm so lucky to be able to go into the studio and play with some of my very favourite musicians, and to work with my brother and to make an album that we're just so happy with." She may be a Wayward Angel, but Kasey Chambers is no little girl anymore.
Date Venue City State Note
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08/13/2009 - Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson bring 'Bones' to the Bijou - Read More
06/11/2009 - Kasey Chambers stirs husband, father and children into her alt-country sound - Read More
01/25/2009 - Kasey rattles the gongs - Read More
04/16/2008 - Time out inspires musical mateship - Read More
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Average Rating : 0              Total Reviews: 17

Kasey Chambers  06/06/2002            
I've never given any of the women a chance as far as tx music goes and when i have they weren't too great. but i just got through listening to this one and she's pretty good. Her songs are good for any mood.
Kasey Chambers  11/02/2001            
Elaine Z
Kasey Chambers is unlike anything I have heard before. Her sound is so different from what most people of our generation are making. I love what she has to say and I can't wait to catch the next show!
Kasey Chambers  10/23/2001            
Heather Morgan
I love listening to this album - Kasey's voice has such a unique sound and she has the coolest way of painting with her voice! She is soft and explosive and her voice is laced with cracks of emotion. The harmony on this album is also addicting to listen to and it really is Kasey Chambers through and through on this CD because she allows herself to be vulnerable and it shows in the melodies and lyrics she has created. She is one of the best artist out there - because she is distinctive and darn good at what she does!
Kasey Chambers  07/07/2001            
I beleive this is by far the best female album put out in a long long time.
Kasey Chambers  04/12/2001            
Great chamring album, purchased after the delightful appearance on ACL. Great honest "Texas" Country.
Kasey Chambers  04/12/2001            
Great chamring album, purchased after the delightful appearance on ACL. Great honest "Texas" Country.
Kasey Chambers  03/30/2001            
This Aussie knows country better than Nashville does. This CD was a great pickup. Excellent voice, great songs, and a unique style.
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