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Kasey Chambers brings it on home

Park West, Chicago, September 18, 2008

Reviewed by Andy Turner

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Joined by husband Shane Nicholson and dad Bill Chambers, Kasey Chambers invited audience members into her family's "lounge room" where they were treated to a loose and warm acoustic set. It was part of a handful of U.S. dates - her first since 2005.

The Australian explained that her music-loving family has long enjoyed swapping songs in the comfort and closeness of its living room, and she hoped to bring that vibe to the live performance. Chambers, full of charm, good humor and lively stories, was more than successful at pulling it off as she and her husband sweetly harmonized and Bill Chambers delighted on various instruments.

They played a healthy chunk of Chambers' back catalogue, along with well-done covers such as Still Feeling Blue and Neil Young's Dance, Dance, Dance, songs from Nicholson's just finished album and a handful of tunes from "Rattlin' Bones," the couple's new disc on Sugar Hill.

Some old songs sounded nearly completely reinvented such as the amazing, stripped down take on Barricades and Brickwalls, her most commercially successful song and one that Chambers explained she wrote with her dad and a longtime roadie. The non-prolific roadie's only song idea since then was for I'm Two Women Short of a Ménage à Trios, Chambers said.

Indeed, Chambers' banter between songs was highly entertaining. She talked about how she and Nicholson, like many married couples, had agreed on one celebrity each with whom they could have a free pass to bed, as long as the famous person wasn't from Australia. She picked Jerry Seinfeld and he chose Sheryl Crow. To her dismay, Nicholson recently had been asked to open on Crow's Australian tour.

Music, however, was still the focus, and the trio happily delivered. New songs, such as Rattlin' Bones and Wildflower, went over well, despite Nicholson admitting that he was relying on a notebook to remember the words. Most successful was Chambers' encore rendering of Nicholson's excellent One More Year.

The saucy Pony and Chambers' solo performance of The Captain also were highlights. The show ended abruptly after a promised We're All Gonna Die Someday had to be cut short due to unknown reasons. Nevertheless, there was plenty to enjoy during a wonderful and cozy night from a much too infrequent visitor.