Feb. 13, 2003

Kasey Chambers Breaks Down Barricades, Tours the Nation

By Randy J. Klodz

Australian folk/alternative country artist Kasey Chambers’ latest album “Barricades and Brickwalls,” has something for almost every type of music fan to enjoy and she will be showcasing much of the album, as well as her previous album “The Captain,” when she makes her only Chicago appearance, at Park West on Feb. 18.

While beginning her tour on the West coast, Chambers made a stop in Burbank, Calif. on Feb. 5 as the musical guest for Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show.” Though not a stranger to performing on late night talk shows—she’s been a music guest to the shows of David Letterman, Craig Kilbourn and Conan O’Brien—she sees pros and cons to television performances.

“It’s good for promotion, but I’m never really 100 percent comfortable doing that—it’s not like doing a gig—but I do enjoy it,” said Chambers.” “I’m just glad that I’m not doing them every night.

“It’s hard because you don’t really get a chance to get to know the audience as you’re playing. That’s kind of the best thing about playing a gig is that halfway through the night you really feel like you know everyone in the audience and you’re getting to know the different reactions from people, and you really don’t get the chance to do that on TV.”

There might also be another factor that may be adding to Chambers’ timidity prior to her “Tonight Show” performance: “And, I’m sure none of them will have any idea who the hell I am,” she quipped.

The prospects of not being recognized on a American television show is something that she’s not used to witnessing in her native Australia, where her single “Not Pretty Enough” shot up to the top of Australia’s pop charts in January. Throughout the last year, in Australia, she hasn’t gone unnoticed to the public. “I spend most of my time when I’m grocery shopping signing autographs,” Chambers said, “but when I come over here I don’t get any of that.”

Though she’s building a celebrity status in her homeland, she doesn’t want to be mistaken: “I don’t have paparazzi following me around the corner or anything like that—or staking out my house,” Chambers said.

The title track to her recent album “Barricades and Brickwalls,” Chambers gets things started with what she calls a “grungier sort of song,” that almost parallels the honesty of Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know,” with the line: “And I’ll be damned if you’re not my man before the sun goes down.” The track “A Little Bit Lonesome,” starts off with a classic show tune jangle and has the classic country feel and occasional yodeling from Chambers. A welcomed surprise on the album is “Crossfire,” a collaboration Chambers did with Australian punk-rockers The Living End. Other hits bound to make it big here in the United States include “Not Pretty Enough” and “Nullarbor Song.”

Park West is at 322 W. Armitage Ave., in Chicago. Tickets for the show are listed for $22.50 each, with a start time scheduled for 7:30 p.m. For more information on Kasey Chambers check out www.kaseychambers.com.

Kasey Chambers Photo: Carlotta Moye