concert reviews

Kasey Chambers at the 9:30 Club, Washington, DC, Thursday 11 November 2004

Music is a family affair for Australian country singer Kasey Chambers. Not only did her father play guitar in her band on Thursday night at the 9:30 club, she hopes her 2-year-old son will follow in her footsteps. "I always say he can do whatever he wants -- but that's just not true!" she said with a wide smile, as she described her failed attempts to encourage him to play an instrument.

Chambers's cheerful personality infected her songs, which were almost universally upbeat, from her spew of lyrics in "If I Could (Goin Fishin)" to the bouncy jubilation of "Like a River." Even sitting down for a spell didn't diminish the band's driving energy during a trio of songs that started with a rapid a cappella intro to "Last Hard Bible" and ended with a fiery mandolin solo in "Follow You Home."

Although Chambers's most obvious feature is the childlike quality of her voice, the real highlight of the night was the simple beauty of her songs, which centered on effortlessly played melodies and straightforward lyrics, such as her evolving list of desires in "Pony." The crowd -- which had been hooting and hollering all night -- was silently captivated during her introspective ballad "The Captain," which she performed without her band in her encore. Then, once again emphasizing the importance of family, Chambers and her father invited her brother Nash (her producer and manager) onstage, and the three of them clustered around a single microphone to sing Gram Parsons's "Sin City."

-- Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: The Washington Post, 13 November 2004
.: Selected discography: Wayward Angel (Kasey Chambers, 2004); Barricades & Brickwalls (Kasey Chambers, 2002); The Captain (Kasey Chambers, 2000).