Please note: This article is published as an archive copy from Philadelphia City Paper. My City Paper is not affiliated with Philadelphia City Paper. Philadelphia City Paper was an alternative weekly newspaper in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The last edition was published on October 8, 2015.
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November 2–9, 2000

critic pick|rock/pop

Kasey Chambers

Kasey Chambers’ life story has more twists than even the most colorful country-folk song. The 24-year-old singer-songwriter spent much of her youth wandering Australia’s Nullarbor Plain — one of the most desolate spots on the planet — with her hippie parents and older brother.

"Growing up, I thought everyone hunted for food," she says, quite earnestly, by phone from Sydney.

The family lived without running water and electricity, surviving by hunting and selling fox pelts and spent evenings singing around a campfire or listening to father Bill’s tapes of Hank Williams and Emmylou Harris. By the time they returned to civilization — in this case, a town of 200 residents — home-schooled Casey was ten and already a seasoned singer.

The family formed the Dead Ringer Band, built a loyal following playing pubs throughout the country and released four successful albums before Casey went solo. Chambers’ debut album, The Captain, went platinum in Australia last year and nabbed her a slew of Aussie country music awards.

"I’ve really got no competition there; no other girls are doing what I’m doing," explains the modest Chambers.

The record’s now getting a major push by Chambers’ U.S. label, Warner Bros. Championed by Lucinda Williams, The Captain is, by Chambers’ own description, "the story of my first 23 years jammed into 45 minutes."

Lyrically mature beyond her years, Chambers’ twangy voice — sort of a cross between Williams and Iris DeMent — is disarming in its ability to sound innocently youthful and worldly wise at the same time.

Her four member touring band includes her dad on guitar; brother Nash is with the sound crew. "People ask if it’s weird being with my family members on the road… to be honest, it would feel really weird not to have them with me. We were on the road together for years and years… and this environment is a bit easier."

Nicole Pensiero

Kasey Chambers, Mon., Nov. 6, 8 p.m., The Point, 880 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, $6, 610-527-0988.

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