Time-tested troubadour Kasey Chambers is touring behind a powerful new double album
A 40-year-old mother of three is obviously no child. Yet in Australia, where Kasey Chambers has been embraced as a nose ring-sporting country sweetheart since her gypsy-ish teens, her song “Ain’t No Little Girl” lands corrective punches with the anger of one who’s suffered all her slings and arrows in public: “A lesson is learned/ And a lesson is lost/ Well I ain’t afraid to stand and give a damn/ And take it like a man.”
It’s a single from the 11-time ARIA Award winner’s 11th studio album, “Dragonfly,” produced by older brother Nash Chambers and singer-songwriter Paul Kelly. The double-disc set includes guest turns by Kelly, Ed Sheeran, Keith Urban and Foy Vance, and confronts the challenges of aging, divorce and recent nodule surgery that opened up Chambers’ top notes and seemingly deepened the tensile strength of her distinctive vocal signature.
It’s been three decades since Chambers caravanned around the Outback with her off-the-grid clan’s Dead Ringer Band, performing in pubs and camping under the stars like an Aussie Carter Family; 18 years since she went solo with her double-platinum-in-Australia album “The Captain.” Dad Bill now plays in her band (and she sits in with his).
In concert, when Chambers sings “The Captain” or other early hits like the everywoman anthem “Not Pretty Enough,” she still delivers them with unaffected girlishness, her vulnerability now tempered with emotional steel.
— Bliss Bowen
Kasey Chambers performs two shows at McCabe’s Guitar Shop (3101 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica) on Saturday, March 11. The 8 p.m. show is sold out but tickets for the 10 p.m. set are on sale for $35. Call (310) 828-4497 or visit mccabes.com for updates.