"In the year of 62 the land received a soul/ a baby cried, a mother smiled/ a hero made of gold." - Follow You Home - Kasey Chambers-Cori Hopper.

Kasey Chambers

Kasey Chambers sweeps across this vast nation like a reincarnation of an ancient warrior on a rampant steed.

Her musical horse of Troy penetrates industry and radio drawbridge in a vein that peers would kill for.

First she scored a huge hit with a song that parodied rock radio and now she has leaped the moat with a song featuring mandocello.
Chambers single Like A River - from belated third EMI album Wayward Angel - has won national airplay on the corporate chains.

And now the celebrated singer-songwriter launches national and international tours with more not so secret weapons of mass distraction.

She named her female diamond python after Jerry Seinfeld and wrote a new song about crocodile hunter TV star Steve Irwin.

But Chambers is not exploiting icons whose fame flame burns even brighter than hers. She was coy when I guessed the inspiration for bluegrass gem Follow You Home.

"I have been doing interviews non stop for two weeks and you're the first person who has figured that out," Chambers, 28, told Nu Country.

The song is one of three Kasey and partner Cori Hopper wrote for a disc enjoying a major media blitz to promote her national and international tours.

But, unlike many precious pop peers, Chambers revealed a refreshing candour when she confessed to her song source.


"I haven't been talking about the inspiration for the song at all," Kasey revealed, "I didn't want to make that a major focus. I didn't want to get recognition of the song because of his big name, anything like that. Cori and I are big fans. I think he's a really beautiful passionate Australian. I'm just proud of what he's done, he's someone who loves what he's doing. I admire anyone who has done that - he hasn't heard it yet. I'll have to send him off a copy. It's a big thrill. I've only met Steve once, at the ARIAS. I went up and asked for his autograph."

Chambers has that innate ability to penetrate the national and international psyche with her music and honesty.

And she is elated that she has leaped the commercial radio moat with the album's debut single Like A River.

"When you make an album you hope something is going to slip through the cracks like Not Pretty Enough," Chambers says.

"My music doesn't fit as well on mainstream radio as other artists. I put that single out first as that was the direction we wanted to start with. With radio there no guarantees. I certainly didn't think we would get the most added song. That was a fair bit of a thrill.

I thought Not Pretty might slip through but to get this before the album came out was a real surprise."

And equally importantly the song features an instrument foreign to rock radio.
"I don't think people realised they're hearing mandocello," Kasey added, "that's very cool. It's a positive song about being in love."


The fame and acclaim ignited since Kasey ascended from Chambers family Dead Ringer Band singer has also caused her to draw the lines in Hollywood and For Sale.

"Hollywood was one of last songs I wrote before I made the album," Kasey recalled, "I guess it's one of those songs that realises as much as I love my career and what I do and it's an important part of my life it's not living in the real world. Especially having Talon, my son, brings you back down in the real world."

But is the singer as sad as one verse implies?

"Some lines are in there just because they sound good but most songs I write from the heart," Chambers explains, "I did that as well, it's what I'm feeling at the time. Every now and then I am feeling sad. It's about realising if I were to live my life as my career that is where do you don't find happiness - all very well to sell lots of records and win ARIAS and all that but it's not going to make you happy in the end."

"Well you can buy my life on radio and order me by mail," drives home the message of
For Sale.

"I'm hanging onto personal life because I give away so much of my life in my songs, even doing interviews," Chambers says.

"I never think shit, I shouldn't have said that. I give so much in my songs. It's more about time - that certain time with my son, partner and family. I enjoy those parts of me that are not about Kasey Chambers and not for sale."

Chambers and producer brother Nash supplemented her Aussie A team with renowned guitarist Steuart Smith who has toured here with Grammy winner Shawn Colvin.

"Steuart Smith came out her for the whole album," Chambers said, "we did it a lot more live than we've done any other album. I didn't have to do his guitar parts later, I wanted to get them all in together, all making their magic at the same time. We met him once, maybe in Chicago playing with Dar Williams - we heard him a lot with Shawn Colvin. He was out on her last tour and is coming out here with The Eagles later in the year. He produced Shawn and lot of other stuff."


Also on the album are expatriate Australians Kym Warner and partner Carol Young.

"We had Kym staying with us at the time," Kasey said.

"He played mandolin. We recorded the song the night before he left. Carol - his girlfriend - came in and sang. He flew back to Los Angeles and the next day he flew back because of visa problems. He missed out on a few gigs with his band The Greencards.'

Chambers road tested two new songs on her last national tour.

"We didn't try out many songs, just Pony and Lost & Found," she recalled, "I reckon I got as good a response to that as I ever got to a new song before. It's hard to try out new songs, no-one wants to hear songs they don't know. But I remember trying out Not Pretty Enough, They are completely different songs but seemed to just work with the audience.

It's a bit different for me. I put it at start of album."

The diversity of the songs ensures wide appeal and longevity and critical examination.

"I wrote More Than Ordinary with Cori," Kasey confided, "people say they heard that song and thought we must have broken up. It's more about looking back. Guilty As Sin is more of a fun song like the Steve Irwin song. They're all reflective of different moods. We're not all perfect."


Chambers and her band will tour the U.S. in November after their national tour here in spring but has no plans to live overseas.

The South Australian born singer-songwriter won't make the ultimate sacrifice by risking her family life by following expatriate Australasian Keith Urban to the U.S.

Urban, 35, survived dope and booze abuse as he pushed his life to the limit in the soul destroying assault and victory in the biggest country music market in the world.

Chambers has drawn her line in the sand by resisting attempts to entice her to a lifestyle that enabled Urban to enjoy huge music and concert sales despite horrific health hurdles.

"I love going over there and touring, there are always great artists," Chambers says, "it's a lot of fun. I realise if I want to make a serious go of it, having a major career over there I would have to spend a lot more time here, which I'm not willing to do. If my career was everything in my life I'd probably spend a lot more time over there. I would like my son to grow up in Australia. I like my career here. It pays my bills. But touring overseas is a creative challenge. It's a real novelty to tour in America - we don't do it very often. I love it but it's also good coming home. When we tour it's always a enjoyable experience - we want to make most of it."

Chambers explores maternal love and maternity in Wayward Angel and Mother.

"My mum and I have always been very close, she has also been that best friend," says the singer.

"We have always got on well. Having my own child makes me appreciate that even more - I do believe now that there's nothing like the love you have for a child. It's never going to compare. You love your partner and siblings but it's nothing like that love for your own child."

It's also a theme she explores in finale song Saturation.

"Even though my family was the major part of my earlier life it has now shifted onto my own family," she says.

"It's not that it makes the other family any less, it's just a shift of priorities," Chambers says, "my career is important but having a baby shifts your priorities."


Chambers songs have appeared on movie soundtracks and used in TV shows diverse as The Sopranos, Crossing Jordan and Dawson's Creek but it was a local TV show that gave her Paper Aeroplane.

"I saw this story on TV about a guy lost his wife to cancer," Chambers added, "I just sat down and wrote the song. I've never written a song from the point of view of someone else before. It was quite different for me. I've never sung with a piano before. That was exciting for me."

Chambers hopes her songs will soon impact in movies.

"I haven't had a song in a movie," she says.

"I've had a couple of songs on movie soundtracks. I signed a publishing deal with Sony. I hope something comes off. I think this album is more suited to movies. Cori is making a trailer for a feature film. I've got my foot in the door. I said I've put your songs on my album, now put my songs in your movies."

But Stronger was a more personal song.

"Its pretty much about growing and learning and getting thicker skin," she says.

"Even though you are stronger, pain still feels like pain. You are on the road so long it comes a little more naturally with the industry and playing on stage. You get to know yourself a lot more as you go through life."

Chambers tours Australia with Vicka and Linda Bull and wants to take an Australian on her U.S foray.

"My dad Bill was support last time," Kasey says, "it all depends on costs. We have just one bus this time. We're not taking our children. It was hard work with a lot of travelling in two buses last time. We always go to Austin. That's our best audience there, they're great gigs and we get a lot of radio airplay on the Americana stations. We rarely go to Nashville. It's more industry people. We did Dallas on the last one and still do New York and L.A. although it's more an underground thing. We have a lot of support from KPIG FM in California and Americana stations - especially in Texas."


15 - Manning Entertainment Centre, Taree, NSW
16 - Civic Theatre, Newcastle, NSW
22 - Royal Theatre, Canberra, NSW
23 - Bathurst Entertainment Centre, NSW
28 - Festival Theatre, Adelaide, SA
29 - Bendigo Bank Centre, Bendigo, Vic
30 - Barn Palais, Mt Gambier, SA
12 - Empire Theatre, Toowoomba, Qld
13 - Brisbane Convention Centre, Qld
14 - Caloundra Cultural Centre, Qld
15 - Brolga Theatre, Maryborough, Qld
24 - Eastbank Centre, Shepparton, Vic
25 - Her Majesty's Theatre, Ballarat, Vic
26 - Geelong Performing Arts Centre, Vic
27 - Palais, Melbourne, Vic
2 - State Theatre, Sydney, NSW
7 - Pilbeam Theatre, Qld
8 - Mackay Entertainment Centre, Qld
9 - Townsville Civic Centre, Qld
11 - Cairns Convention Centre, Qld

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