Archive for the Kasey Chambers Category

Notes: One Wild Weekend Ahead

Posted in Allison Moorer, Brendon James Wright, Chris Knight, Gillian Welch, Justin Townes Earle, Kasey Chambers, Shane Nicholson, Steve Earle, The Felice Brothers, The Steeldrivers, Van Eaton and Friends on August 13, 2009 by AmericanaPulse
This is a HUGE musical weekend in Knoxville, and I’ll tell you all about it… but first…

***I want to start off this post by wishing a Happy Anniversary to Steve Earle and Allison Moorer. The Americana power couple celebrated their fourth wedding anniversary on Tuesday.

I still remember when I first heard the rumours that the two were becoming involved with each other. In fact, I think I probably had the info a little sooner than most outside observers. I got the scoop from my music director at the time, who had heard it directly from an “industry insider,” who probably got it from Allison’s hairdresser’s cousin’s friend. That’s the way these things typically get started… right?

Anyway, I quickly dismissed the rumours as false. He was too old for her, and she was too pretty for him. It couldn’t be true.

Only, it was. And it is. And they still seem to be going strong. So here’s to four years together for Steve and Allison. May there be many more happy years and great music in their future. Here’s a tune Steve Earle wrote about his bride. It comes from 2008’s Washington Square Serenade.

Steve Earle: Sparkle & Shine (Buy Album)

***Now… on to this weekend’s festivities. It’s one of those weekends where you get really excited once you hear of all the shows, and all of the artists, that are coming to town, and then immediately get upset once you realize that there is no way to see them all. It almost breaks my heart to list all the acts I won’t be seeing this weekend.

It starts Thursday night when Brendan James Wright and the Wrongs play a free show as part of the new “Old City Live” concert series. I’m working late at my day job Thursday night… so no show for me.

Friday night is even worse. Chris Knight just added a date at The Shed in Maryville, and there’s also this thing at the World’s Fair Park called The Big Surprise Tour… maybe you’ve heard of it. The Old Crow Medicine Show, Gillian Welch, David Rawlings, Justin Townes Earle, and The Felice Brothers. Apparently, it’s one of those shows where everybody plays with everybody else and no two shows are the same. It’s a once in a lifetime show with a once in a lifetime collection of talent… and I’ll on the air at WDVX and completely unable to attend.
Never fear though… Payton from This Mornin’ I am Born Again is making the trip from Texas to Tennessee for the Big Surprise show. I’m sure he’ll share his impressions of the show with us once he makes it back to Texas. In the meantime, you can go to his site to hear some live tracks from the Big Surprise participants.

***Saturday night, I finally get to see a show for myself when Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson come to the Bijou Theatre. I’m choosing not to think about the fact that I have to miss out on seeing my friends Van Eaton of Van Eaton and Friends and Chris Stapleton of The Steeldrivers play as part of Stringtime in the Smokies to do it.

Instead, I’m looking forward to finally meeting the artist who probably did more than any other in terms of pulling me into the world of Americana Music. She introduced me to so many great artists, and literally changed my musical world. I’m fairly certain that I would not be writing this blog or working at WDVX if not for my first chance encounter with her music. I’ll be able to thank her for that on Saturday. What’s more… I’ll get to introduce her to the crowd at the Bijou as well. I’ll be emceeing the show.
It almost makes up for missing everything else this weekend.
Here’s one from Kasey and Shane’s 2008 release Rattlin’ Bones (one of my favorites of ’08), and a live track of Kasey covering Lucinda Williams’ “Changed the Locks.”
Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson: Once in a While (Buy Album)
Kasey Chambers: Changed the Locks (Buy Music)

Top 10 Albums of 2008: #6 Rattlin’ Bones by Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson

Posted in Kasey Chambers, Shane Nicholson, Top 10 of '08 on December 27, 2008 by AmericanaPulse

We took a day or two off for the Holiday (hope everyone had a good one by the way), and we may take another one here soon, but the Top 10 list will continue. I hope to have all ten posted by Jan. 1. Wish me luck.

We’ll start back in at #6 with Rattlin Bones’ by Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson.

Like R.E.M.’s entry at #10 (and the entry coming after this one), Kasey Chambers’ latest album came as a welcome surprise and a bit of a comeback. I’ve written here before about how Kasey served as my “gateway drug” into the world of Americana music by introducing me to several artists who now rank among my favorites. It’s no surprise then, that Kasey quickly became one of my favorite artists within the genre as well.

With that said, however, her last two offerings (Wayward Angel and Carnival) have left me feeling a little flat. Both albums certainly had their high points and songs that I would place among her best. But, in places, both albums also felt as though Kasey was actively trying to create that one crossover song that would help her reach the same level of success on mainstream American radio that she already enjoys in her native Australia. There was a sheen and polish that I wasn’t used to hearing. It didn’t have the same grit as the music I fell in love with on Barricades and Brickwalls.

For this album, Kasey returned to her roots by returning to the very roots of country music. She sat down with her husband, songwriter Shane Nicholson, and the two of them wrote 14 heartbreaking country ballads. Then, armed with mostly acoustic instruments, the duo recorded a set of duets so achingly beautiful they would make George Jones and Tammy Wynette cry.

Kasey and Shane’s voices sound great together. Like a couple who have been singing together on and off stage for years… they know the ins and outs of each other’s voices… and it shows. And, as is Chambers family tradition, the album is a true family affair. Kasey’s brother Nash serves as producer while her father Bill plays throughout. Kasey’s mother is credited with the album’s photography, and one of the Chambers’ children makes a brief cameo appearance at the end. It recalls the days before Kasey went solo and the Chambers family recorded together as The Dead Ringer Band.

This record is a perfect blending of bluegrass picking with classic country twang performed under the guiding hand of The Carter Family to create a timeless album that sounds right at home here in the Appalachian Mountains of East Tennessee. You’d never suspect that it came from the Nullarbor Plains of the Australian Outback.

Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson: Rattlin’ Bones (Buy Album)
Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson: The Devil’s Inside My Head (Buy Album)

Essential Albums: Barricades & Brickwalls

Posted in Essential Albums, Kasey Chambers on September 1, 2008 by AmericanaPulse

In the spring of 2002, I was working as a Graduate Assistant at Morehead State Public Radio in Morehead, Kentucky. I mostly worked in the newsroom writing news and sports copy and anchoring the occasional newscast. On Friday nights, it was my job to sit in the broadcast studio and make sure nothing went wrong while we aired a few nationally syndicated music programs. Essentially, I would introduce a program, do nothing for an hour, and then introduce the next program.

I spent most of those Friday nights chatting with friends on line, making fantasy baseball trades, or just reading and doing classwork. Every so often, however, I would actually listen to the shows I was airing. One night, on a show called E-Town, I heard the voice of an Australian country singer named Kasey Chambers. The down under twang in her voice was unlike anything I had ever heard before. I wasn’t sure what I was hearing… but I knew I liked it.

The next week, I asked the music director at the station if he had ever heard of this Kasey Chambers person. He started raving about this thing called “Americana Music” and how great it was and how great Kasey Chambers was, and he gave me a copy of her CD, Barricades and Brickwalls that had just been released in the U.S. I still wasn’t sure what this Americana thing was he kept talking about, but I took the CD home for a listen. I had no idea at the time what that CD would lead me to.

I pushed play and was immediately met with the ominous guitar riff of the title track followed by Kasey’s distinctive vocal twang. I was immediately hooked. The song itself is a meditation on obsession. Kasey runs through a laundry list of things that have been placed between her and the object of her desires. Barricades and brickwalls, iron bars and big ol’ cars, locked doors, screaming and shouting… nothing will hold her back. In the chorus, she makes her intentions clear by declaring, “I’ll be damned if you’re not my man before the sun goes down.”

The rocking title track is followed by the softer “Not Pretty Enough” (the song that got my attention from the E-Town broadcast) and continues to mix ballads like “On a Bad Day” and “Nullarbor Song” with country weepers like “A Little Bit Lonesome” and “Still Feeling Blue” and alt-country blueprints like “Runaway Train” and “If I Were You.”

Each time I listened to the disc and read through the liner notes, I heard something different and discovered something new. The album became my gateway drug into Americana music. It was my introduction to Buddy Miller, who provided backing vocals on “Runaway Train.” I heard Lucinda Williams for the first time on “On a Bad Day.” The album also introduced me to Gram Parsons with Kasey’s cover of Parsons’ “Still Feeling Blue.”

Not long after I fell in love with the album, I discovered that Kasey would be appearing at a taping of The Mountain Stage just a few hours up the road in Charleston, West Virginia. Of course, I wanted to go see the show. I didn’t even care that I also had to sit through listing to four other artists who I had never heard of. Of course… those artists turned out to be Laura Cantrell, Dar Williams, James McMurtry, and Rodney Crowell with Kenny Vaughn.

Holy Cow! How could one artist and one album expose me to so many other artists who would all become such staples of my music collection just a few short years later? I don’t know… but Kasey Chambers did it.

I first heard Kasey Chambers and Barricades and Brickwalls in the early months of 2002. That summer, I began hosting Morehead State Public Radio’s nightly Americana program one night a week. The story goes on from there. Who knows what might have happened to me and my musical tastes without this album?

Today, I’m sharing with you the title track from this album, “Runaway Train” featuring Buddy Miller, and the song that first pulled me in… “Not Pretty Enough.”

Kasey Chambers: Barricades and Brickwalls (Buy Album)
Kasey Chambers: Runaway Train (Buy Album)
Kasey Chambers: Not Pretty Enough (Buy Album)