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Cover Story [Issue # 22 ]
Kasey Chambers: Just Letting It Happen

By Lynen Bronstein

Carnival ( CD EMI )

The first thing that will strike listeners about the new Kasey Chambers album Carnival, is that unlike her previous works, it rocks. Yeah, I kicked it into gear a little more,” says Kasey. “I didn’t think about it very much - it just came out that way.”

You could call it folk-rock or alt-country rock but in any case, Kasey Chambers is pulling out all the stops on a number like “I Got You Now.” The electrified sound comes courtesy of bassist Jeff McCormack, drummer Michael Barker, and guitarists Mark Punch and Midnight Oil’s Jim Moginie. There are also vocal assists from Tim Rogers of You Am I on “I Got You Now” and Powderfinger’s Bernard Fanning on a powerful lament called “Hard Road.”

Kasey explains that her brother (and producer) Nash Chambers was responsible for bringing in Moginie, whom he had worked with while producing an album for Kasey’s husband, Cory Hopper. “My husband was raving about him . . . and about how nice he was to work with. To be honest, I was trying not to think about that quite as much. I thought ’Let’s get the best musicians and not worry about whether or not they’re nice.’ But I find it really hard to work with people that aren’t the right kind of person. I want to be able to relate to them. And [Jim] was so much fun!”

Kasey already knew Fanning and asked him to sing on “Hard Road,” although she had not originally conceived it as a duet. “I just felt it really needed something else to reach that level that I was hoping for.” Likewise, she contacted Rogers after her husband suggested he had the kind of “gritty” voice she’d been musing about to use on the song.

Carnival’s lyrics are often introspective, but not all of them are autobiographical. “‘Hard Road’ is a song about somebody else’s position - a position I’ve never been in my life.” With the more obviously personal “The Rain,” in which Kasey lists a series of promises to herself, she observes that she was not trying to go “deep” into her psyche.

“Writing this album was a little different for me. Every record that I look back on that I’ve ever made is like three years of therapy!” She laughs. “This album was different. I didn’t even think about it while I was writing it. I didn’t want it to be a big heartbreak record. I just wanted ‘to see what happens and I’ll figure it out later.’”

So while she’s letting the cards fall where they may, Kasey Chambers is definitely exploring new territory. Electric rock is far from the early experiences of a young woman who grew up, as all of her fans know, roughing it with her parents and brother in the Australian outback. “I have fond memories of it,” Kasey says. “But I could never live that way now. I enjoy my hot showers too much. And I can’t live without television, seriously!”


Just Letting It Happen Kasey Chambers Carnival

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