KASEY CHAMBERS with TALLADEGA and Lavender at the Horseshoe, March 6. Tickets: Free. Attendance: 300. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNNN
it's highly irregular to see people lined up at 8:45 pm to get into the Horseshoe on a free Nu Music Nite, but then, it's not every Tuesday that a hot new Australian talent like Kasey Chambers drops in. Chambers is already all the rage Down Under, where the dangerously charming country starlet lived up to her crossover potential by swiping an ARIA from Kylie Minogue after cleaning up the available country awards.
Although extremely poised, the 24- year-old seemed a bit nervous at her Canadian debut. Even with her father, Bill Chambers, picking guitar to her immediate right and older brother Nash Chambers out front at the soundboard, there was a quavering trepidation to her twang as she wondered if someone like herself, raised in the outback, could connect with a yappy bunch of Great White Northerners.
She had nothing to worry about. The few people she didn't win over with her wistful reading of the autobiographical Southern Kind Of Life were hers when she expressed a genuine thrill at being in Canada, ankle deep in marvellous snow.
During a perfectly paced set, laced with well-chosen tunes by John Prine, Woody Guthrie and Fred Eaglesmith, Chambers knew exactly when to use her warm wit to lighten the mood and when to raise the energy level.
"Does anyone out there like country music?" she queried at the halfway mark to a chorus of hoots. "Good, I just wanted to be sure I was doing the right thing up here." To that, some joker snorted, "Wha'cha gonna play, garage rock? Heh heh."
As if in response, dad Chambers then wrenched a crushing power chord from his amped-up Guild while young Kasey reared back and shook the walls with a wailing take of Lucinda Williams's Changed The Locks. No further questions.