Bill Chambers
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Bill Chambers

| MAJOR | AFTRA

| MAJOR | AFTRA
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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


Sleeping With the Blues amply demonstrates why Chambers is famous in his native land as both guitarist and songwriter. It's brimming with easy going country folk, the same type of music Kasey's mastered, yet the elder Chambers brings a ruggedness, a world weariness to it that his daughter just can't muster. Tunes like the deceptively simple "Sometimes" and the shimmering title track are prime examples of Chambers' expertise with melodies and words. There are also a couple of prime duets. Kasey joins in on a cheerful take of John Sebastian's classic "Stories We Could Tell," then Audrey Auld, who recorded an album of duets with Bill in 1999, shows up for "The Whiskey Isn't Workin'," a tune so damn twangy, it deserves to be a country classic someday. For those curious about the Dead Ringer Band -- composed of the entire Chambers' family, Kasey, Bill's wife Dianne, and son Nash -- they reunite for "Hold You in My Heart," a trad-country type ballad in the style of the Carter Family. In many ways, Sleeping With the Blues recalls the work of John Prine or Kevin Welch, songwriters with a keen eye for detail and an uncomplicated way of putting their observations and ideas across. Anyone with an ear for music that's unadorned yet sincere is sure to like what Bill Chambers has accomplished here. - JIM CALIGUIRI


Although Bill calls Australia home, it seems while on tour with Kasey, he left his heart in Texas. Sleeping With The Blues is done in Texas singer/songwriter tradition, and if one didn't know Bill wasn't born and raised there, they'd never have guessed otherwise. Bill's voice is gruff and world weary, the songs raw and honest. The album is also not entirely solo, as he reserves three songs for keeping the family ties strong. He duets with Kasey on a wonderfully rustic cover of John Sebastian's "Stories We Could Tell," their voices blending flawlessly. He brings the whole The Dead Ringers family together on "Hold You In My Heart" on which the song conjures up echoes of The Carters. Bill co-wrote "The Whiskey Isn't Workin' " with Audrey Auld, and brings her in to duet on this spirited tongue-in-cheek honky tonker.

Bill declares his fondness for Texas in the disc's opening track, a barroom weeper about a barroom romance "Dreaming Bout Texas," where he even namedrops several of Austin's favorite music haunts. His gruff voice adds a poignant vulnerability to his outstanding cover of Marie Gauthier's dark "I Drink," the tale of a confirmed alcoholic. The arresting melody of the acoustic "Devil's Ball" tells of how music is the only life he's ever known and includes a shout out to George Jones as being "the man." The slow steel driven ballad, "Sometimes" reflects on the ups and downs in a relationship, while the acoustic "Promises" is the re-evaluation of one. Lost love is addressed in the outstanding title cut "Sleeping With The Blues," with it's lilting Tex-Mex melody, and is approached as a mournful lament in "The Last Thing I Expected." Bill kicks things up and has a genuinely good time with the straight up honky tonker "Gimmee One More Chance" and has some riotous fun with Fred Eaglesmith's "Big Ass Gargage Sale."

With daughter Kasey and duet partner Audrey Auld finding success in the U.S. with their latest efforts, it seems only natural that patriarch Bill Chambers would make it a family affair. Sleeping With The Blues highlights Bill's strong songwriting, his talent on guitar, dobro and lap steel and effectively proves that the only thing that separates Australian country music from American country music is thousands of physical miles. - AnnMarie Harrington


Woy Woy, a coastal town in New South Wales, is where Bill Chambers - patriarch of Australian country music's family royal - calls home. But Chambers has, it seems, left his heart in Texas. He's toured there numerous visits in daughter Kasey's band, and lately as a singer-songwriter in his own right, and on his solo debut, Chambers humbly takes his place amongst the Texas singer-songwriting tradition which he so plainly admires and has taken deeply to heart.
Chambers declares his loyalties in the opening track, "Dreaming 'Bout Texas," a barroom romance which namechecks La Zona Rosa and other Austin haunts. It's a companion piece of sorts to the title track, "Sleeping With The Blues," which is not unlike a classic Steve Earle ballad. Like most of the album, it's slow and sparse, the best exception being "Gimme One More Chance," where Chambers' crack band lets rip with a rollicking honky-tonk shuffle.
Of the three covers, the real standout is "I Drink" by Louisiana's Mary Gauthier. Lyrics such as "I got my Daddy's blood inside my veins" take on a new poignancy by way of a male narrator, and Chambers' gruff yet vulnerable voice is just perfect for this grimly humoured portrait of a confirmed alcoholic. A sobering drinking song, if ever there was one!
"Hold You In My Heart," a duet with Kasey, is a Dead Ringer Band reunion with mother Diane on bass, and brother Nash on backup vocals. Kasey's voice sounds surprisingly mature alongside Bill's, with only occasional hints of the girlishness that makes her solo work so appealing. The father-daughter harmonies are just sublime, proving that the Chambers family bloodline is unbroken.
Chambers' other guest is Audrey Auld, and together they have a riotously good time on "Big Ass Garage Sale," a Fred Eaglesmith novelty song. Auld also has a co-write, "The Whiskey Isn't Workin'," a swinging trad-styled number which sees Auld and Chambers harmonising with ease and grace.
Chambers offers a welcome addition to the impressive and growing Chambers family catalogue. - Sophie Best


Discography

2006 ‘Frozen Ground’ Bill Chambers
2003 ‘Reckless Records Garage Sale’ Bill Chambers, Audrey Auld & guests
2002 'Sleeping With The Blues' Bill Chambers
2000 'Till Now : The Best Of the Dead Ringer Band'
1999 'Looking Back To See' Bill & Audrey
1998 'Reason & Dream' Woodpickers
1998 'Hopeville' Dead Ringer Band
1997 'Living In The Circle' Dead Ringer Band
1995 'Homefires' Dead Ringer Band
1993 'Red Desert Sky' Dead Ringer Band

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Bill, father of Kasey Chambers is one of those growling singers who owes a substantial debt to both Bob Dylan and John Prine. Perhaps its a result of those early weathered years he spent roughing it in the outback with his family.
"My kids Nash and Kasey grew up listening only to the music I played on cassettes or on my guitar around the campfire. Songs of Hank Williams, the Carter Family, Johnny Cash, Jackson Browne and John Prine," remembers Bill. "I'm entirely self taught, guess thats why I sound like I do."
There's much more to Bill Chambers than just being Kasey's dad. The patriarch of the Chambers Clan is considered by some to be Australias premier alt-country guitarist. He can be a master of delicate picking on Dobro or Lap Steel and a demon on Slide. Along with producing albums for the likes of Catherine Britt, Audrey Auld Mezera, Becky Willis(co-produced with Kasey) and the Dead Ringer Band, Bill has still found time to write most of the songs for both his albums - the ARIA nominated 'Sleeping With The Blues' and his most recent 'Frozen Ground'.
"What I love the best is to get out on the road and perform the songs. I still play in Kasey's band when she's on the road and the gigs take us all over the world. Thats where I get many of the stories for my songs," says Bill. The Courier Mail described 'Frozen Ground' as "A rough diamond of an album, honest and uncontrived", giving it a four star review. It covers different styles from classic country to blues, rock and points in between. From the fiery kiss of the first single 'Chasing Rainbows' to the back-against-the-wall fighting spirit of 'This Ain't Your Town' through the sweet tenderness of 'Little Man' and the modern gospel track 'Stranger', 'Frozen Ground' bears testament to both Bill's influences and his vision. The Floods' Kevin Bennett appears on a swampy version of Cash's 'Big River' in an arrangement that puts a turbo charge under the original boom chicka boom. "We knew we didn't want to do it straight. We ended up with something that was like Johnny Cash-meets-Tony Joe White," says Bill. Richard Jinman from The Sydney Magazine called 'Frozen Ground' "a fine collection of country blues songs with dirt under their fingernails. A lifetime of bitter experience in the sweetest melodies. Sonically the album is reminiscent of Daniel Lanois eerily spacious work; all elongated guitar phrases, shuffling drums and ambient rumbling, and the combined effect is as seductive as hell."