Kasey Chambers-Fred Eaglesmith
Palais Theatre, St Kilda, Victoria, Australia.

Fred Eaglesmith
Canadian troubadour Fred Eaglesmith loped on stage with Bill Chambers as the lights went on for an intermission and froze like a rabbit in a spotlight.The singer, transfixed on the sparse stage of this majestic seaside theatre, peered into the packed palace and gave the audience both barrels with 'I Like Trains.'

It was an upgrade from economy to first class and he tailored between-song patter to suit his host's audience.Fred soon had bemused bleachers babes wildly responding to career songs such as 'Hank & Audrey' and new tune 'Find Another Rainbow,' penned for 'The Muppets.'

Fred edited his repartee but still lanced laughs with the supremacy of Canadian bears over "wimpy little crocodiles."

The sardonic showman plugged his own gigs with dobro mate Chambers and Audrey and told his 25 year old song 'I Shot Your Dog' charted for James King and finished with '49 Tons.'

Sadly the singer didn't return for headliner Kasey's riveting rendition of his 'Water In The Fuel.'

But this was the desert diva's triumphant return to the venue where she debuted with Emmylou Harris.With Rod McCormack on banjo, joining his big brother bassist Jeff, the concert was steeped in the bluegrass and country of her embryonic days.

Chambers kicked off with 'Barricades & Brick Walls,' segued into 'If I Were You' and delivered her hits 'Not Pretty Enough,' 'The Captain,' 'We're All Gonna Die One Day and a Lucinda Williams cover.

But the real joy was new songs that she apologised for road testing and a bluegrass four play.

No apologies needed for either. With the Brothers McCormack, guitarist Glen Hanna, dad Bill on dobro, drummer B J Barker and brother Nash enjoying a small cameo - this was sheer joy.

Bill & Kasey Chambers
A true roots country family show with a delicious revamp of 'You Got The Car' and a McCormack instrumental.Chambers' patter on the birth of her first new song with its hook 'I'm Still Here And You're Still Gone' peaked with a tale about co-writers Hanna and 'Worm' and their song 'Two Girls Short Of A Menage De Trois.'

But it was another debutante 'When I Grow Up' - an evocative gem - that is destined for fame and hopefully fortune.

Chambers idyllic imagery, delivered with a frozen fragility, should ensure this dream sequence is etched deep in the nation psyche if it wins exposure and airplay it richly deserves.

The singer's audience interaction - receiving gifts from fans, bringing micro-boppers on stage and delivering a "lesbian truck driver" yarn from the Eaglesmith gag book - are a quality you can't manufacture.And, now that she he has suburbia wrapped in her slender arms, it was fitting that she returned to her country roots - a home she filled with dexterity.

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