Bill Chambers

Saturday, August 3

Bill Chambers may be from the other side of the world, but in a way, this show is a homecoming for one of God's natural Texans. After all, what is Australia but a sort of giant floating Texas? What is the Outback but a sort of über-Panhandle? And what could be more Texan than hunting varmints for a living? (The Chambers clan spent a decade singing under the stars and supporting itself in the most desolate and remote stretches of the Australian bush by killing such imported, habitat-destroying pests as foxes and rabbits.)

Daughter Kasey grew up to be a soulful singer who's often compared to Lucinda Williams. And the Texan influence shows in the elder Chambers's music, too. On his solo debut, Sleeping with the Blues, amid covers of Fred Eaglesmith and John Sebastian tunes, Chambers sings of trying to throw up out the car window and forgetting it wasn't rolled down, carpets sticky with stale beer, and how George Jones's voice can ring the Devil's bell. While Chambers's rough-and-ready Butch Hancock-ish voice can't quite plumb those fiery depths (his daughter's can, but that's another matter), his Down Under charm, glinting musicianship and first-rate honky-tonk originals have won him a few shelves full of Australian country music awards.

 
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