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Kasey Chambers

The Captain – 2000 (Asylum)

Reviewed by Joel Bernstein

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CDs by Kasey Chambers

This 24-year-old native of the Australian outback is a big star in her home country, but over here she's just an Americana artist. Aside from the obvious irony, that also means that she isn't going to achieve stardom in the USA, since she won't easily fit into the required marketing niche. That's not for any lack of quality. Chambers has a voice that's about halfway between Neko Case and Nanci Griffith. Her songs feature twangy guitar and occasionally instruments like dobro and fiddle, but structurally and lyrically most are miles removed form today's mainstream country. The presence of Buddy Miller on several tracks gives her instant credibility in the alt.-country world.EM>Special Delivery

Chambers' lyrics generally reflect a youthful angst more often associated with alternative rock. Despite the humor of the rowdy "We're All Gonna Die Someday," (a sequel of sorts to "In Heaven There Is No Beer") these are not the songs of a happy camper. However, the quality of her songs - especially the title tune, the arresting opener "Cry Like A Baby" and the country torch song "The Hard Way" - means the album should make a lot of listeners happy.