Sometimes absence really does make the heart grow fonder when it comes to artists you like. I discovered Kasey Chambers about ten years ago from her song The Captain, which featured on The Sopranos and appeared on one of the soundtrack albums. Ten years on, and while I’ve never had the chance to see her perform, I still love her music.
With someone like Chambers, it’s not so much that – as far as I’m aware – she’s not done a UK tour, but that there’s just so little about her that you’ll see over here. She’s an Australian who not only has never been in Neighbours or Home & Away, but also sings country music, so exists in a publicity vacuum.
The Captain was from her similarly-titled debut album, and immediately stole my heart for the plaintive and yearning vocals, with an appealing blend of Aussie accent and ‘country twang’. Second album Barricades And Brickwalls was even better, matching some beefed-up guitars with one of the most lovely and heartbreaking songs ever written, Not Pretty Enough (Nullarbor Song also qualifies in that category).
Since then, she’s kept on releasing great albums (particularly Carnival) as well as a really good collaboration with her husband Shane Nicholson, called Rattlin’ Bones. But because country music (especially from anywhere other than America) doesn’t get much press over here, I quite often found out about a new album quite some time after it was released, usually from idle curiosity about what she was up to.
You’d think that, in this online age, that would have changed by now, but I only really found out that she’d released an album of covers, called Songbook, last year along with her autobiography. I’d heard of neither of them when they came out in September 2011 and can’t track down a download copy of the album anywhere, so I’m guessing it hasn’t even been properly released over here.
But still, at a time when we have so much access to artists and living in a country where most big names come to play regularly, it’s almost refreshing to still have some people who make it a challenge to be a fan of their music. Chambers is on Twitter and is a very engaging person on there, but I still know very little about her, and the only pictures I see of her are when she appears on her own album covers.
I’ll track me down a copy of her ‘new’ album soon and probably the autobiography too, even if that might take away some of the mystique. Whether or not I’ll ever get to see her perform, who knows? Taylor Swift has proved that there can be a market for country in the UK, albeit a kind of glossy country pre-packaged for tweens. I’m sure Kasey Chambers has got quite a few fans over here, like me, who would love to come to one of her shows. But till then, we’ll keep on loving her music anyway.
- Way Over Yonder In The Minor Key: An Alt-Country Mixtape (leftoffthetracks.wordpress.com)