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Kasey Chambers becomes a wayward angel

By Jeffrey B. Remz, October 2004

Page 3...

"I don't have high expectations of my career in America," she says. "That's for many reasons. Mostly, I never thought anybody would be listening to someone from the outback of Australia that's singing the music of America. That's kind of a contradiction in terms. I would have totally understood if that is the case. I sort of grew up listening to American songwriters and music. I just thought they'd never be that interested in an Australian. It was really nice that we got the opposite reaction from going there."

After "The Captain" came out in 2000, Chambers hooked up as the opening act for a Lucinda Williams summer tour. Chambers first saw Williams in Australia when she was about 12 and knew nothing about her. After seeing her, Williams became perhaps her number one musical influence.

While virtually an unknown to her audience, Chambers received a great response, including, for example, a standing ovation and encore in Boston.

"That's really a flattering thing," she says. "It's not like I ever thought that I want to be a big star in America. I want to be really successful over there...It's more like a bonus. I appreciate what has happened over there as much with Warner taking on the album and Monterrey (booking agency) being my agent and working with some of my biggest influences."

"If I could keep doing that for a little while, I'll be more than happy," says Chambers. "Who knows what's going to happen from here on in? It might just go away. I can honestly say I've had a helluva time, and I've had a whole lot of free holidays to America."

"Barricades & Brickwalls" proved more problematic. About a month prior to its March 2002 release, Chambers was on a short promotional tour of the States. But barely into it, Chambers ended it on doctor's orders after needing to stop a San Francisco show three songs in. Chambers went home for the rest of her pregnancy.

How has motherhood affected Chambers?"The instant the baby is born, your whole priorities just change around," she says. "All of a sudden, this thing is much higher on your priority list than anything else in your life. It's an emotional thing to go through on good days and bad days. That affects my songwriting as much as anything where you know all of a sudden, your life is turned completely upside down and everything is completely different in the way you see things. And I write songs in the way (I) see things."

"I don't write songs about dirty diapers all day. Maybe I'll do it with The Wiggles," she says joking, referring to the extremely successful Aussie children's music group. "There's definitely a different element. It's a more emotional time. There's more comfort in this album. I feel comfortable with this album than I ever have before. I think that comes from change of priorities in my life where I just don't care as much about little things because there's much more important things to care about."

Chambers bridges her musical and parenting lives on the new album with the title track, the only song specifically directed at Talon.

"It's saying I'll always be there for you, but I won't be perfect. They have (ideas) that their parents are perfect."

"I'm warning him early," she says joking. "He really doesn't have a clue what this song is about."

Chambers seems relaxed about developing her career across the ocean. When asked if she's anxious about what type of reception "Wayward Angel" will receive here (the album was released in Australia in May), Chambers says, "I honestly don't. All I can hope for is that people will like it."

At that point, her son Talon can be heard in the background, not in a happy state. "His wings have fallen off," says Chambers, deadpanning, "It's quite a tragedy here."

Quickly getting back to her other career, Chambers says, "As much as people enjoy the album, I hope they enjoy it when I get over there and enjoy the album live."

"I never have thoughts that this album is going to break any records," she says. "I've enjoyed the touring that I've done very much. I hope that I can keep doing that for a little while."

"That would keep me very happy."

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