A Review of the CD
"The Captain"
by Kasey Chambers

"The Captain"
by Kasey Chambers

Copyright 1999
Asylum/Warner Brothers - 9 47823-2
Warner Brothers Records, Inc.
3300 Warner Boulevard
Burbank, CA 91505

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 12/00
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Raised in the Australian Outback since the age of three weeks, her family fended for themselves by shooting game. No, thankfully this isn't some variation of a Crocodile Dundee sequel. Luckily for us, this is 24-year-old Kasey Chambers, so refreshing a talent that there will soon be a new world order in the progressive country/Americana music scene--this young woman is moving up fast and deservedly so.

With a very unique voice, a la Iris Dement, the emotive Chambers swings from demure to playful to inflective throughout this release. At times quavering, at times powerful, at times precise, her vocals span the spectrum--pure country on one cut, then a shift to the rock vein, followed by pop and folk presentations. Not to be overlooked is the fact that she also penned all the cuts here--yet another display of the span of her talents.

Opening with "Cry Like A Baby," she zeroes in on the feelings, reactions and behavior of many young people today:

"Well, I never lived through the Great Depression
sometimes I feel as though I did
And I don't have all the answers for every single question
but that's okay 'cos I'm just a kid...

But I still cry like a baby
And I answer back to feel a little free
And I still fly even though I'm gonna fall
But I'm too far gone to let it get to me..."

The cut probably getting the most airplay is "The Captain," because its sound branches the spectrum of country, folk and pop. "This Flower" is the sweetest song, a paean of indebtedness. With its electric guitar backing, "You Got The Car" combines a rock sound with more country like lyrics:
"The last time I held you
You held the cards and I was
asking for anything you had
You saw it coming but you
didn't tell me and next
thing everything turned bad

You got the car and I got the break
I've had as much as I can take
And my heart can't handle anymore
And all the kings horses and all the king's men couldn't
put me back together again
So I laid in broken pieces on the floor
So don't come back for more..."

"Don't Talk Back" is reminiscent of the best of Bruce Springsteen's car songs--the need to drive, movement as a form of escape to keep the dragons at bay. "Southern Kind Of Life" subtly contrasts the lifestyle differences between the north and south of Australia.

Slide guitar backed on most of the "Last Hard Bible," she opens and closes a cappella with this verse:

"I sold my last hard Bible
Just to pay my bills
I called my mother
To reserve me in her will..."
The gist of the cut goes:
"I spent my cash
On a brand new heartache
I spent my time
Trying to make it back
he took my heart
And he took my savings
He took the train
And left me on the tracks..."
Finishing with "We're All Gonna Die Someday," a wry cut in the Fred J. Eaglesmith vein, she sings:
"We're all gonna die some day lord
We're all gonna die someday
Mama's on pills daddy's over the hill
But we're all gonna die someday

Well it hurts here on earth lord
It hurts down here on earth
It hurts down here 'cos we're running out of beer
But we're all gonna die someday..."

Chambers is a veritable wunderkind, preternaturally able to produce and present material in a manner well beyond her years. Someone like her makes it so thankfully easy to rediscover the absolute joy in stumbling across wondrous artistry.

Chambers on leads vocals is backed by B.J. Barker on drums; Jeff McCormack on bass and acoustic guitar; Bill Chambers (Kasey's father) on electric guitar, dobro, lap steel and vocal harmony; Nash Chambers (Kasey's brother) on acoustic guitar, bass and vocal harmony; Mark Punch on electric guitar; Julie Miller on vocal harmony; Rod McCormack on acoustic and electric guitar, Hammond and vocal harmony; Kevin Bennett on lead and acoustic guitar; Mick Albeck on fiddle; Buddy Miller on lead guitar and vocal harmony.

Track List:

All songs written by Kasey Chambers, except as noted.

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