Spotlight: Kasey Chambers
Outdoor Stage, Waterloo Park, 7pm
"It's amazing to me that we get to travel in a tour bus over here," says Kasey Chambers of the biggest difference between the States and her native Australia. "Back home, it's all cars and vans. Nobody travels in a bus -- not even Kylie Minogue."
Even without the luxury of a bus, the 25-year-old singer-songwriter does more than all right back home; her debut, The Captain, has gone double platinum, and over the last two years, she's picked up the Grammy equivalents for Best Country Album and Best Female Artist. Still, Chambers is the first to admit that stardom in Australia, particularly in the realm of country-oriented roots music, is very much a big fish, small pond affair.
"I don't know what impression people have of me over here, but I'm really not a huge star in Australia," says Chambers, who began touring Southern Australia as part of her family's band in 1986. "It's not like I can't go into a bar without being hassled, but even when I am recognized, I have nothing to hide. I'm a fairly honest artist -- there's not a 'stage me' and 'home me.' I'm me all the time, and if people like me, then it's a bonus."
While her nose ring and posing nude alongside her brother for an arts magazine have rankled a few feathers back home, here in the U.S., The Captain and Chambers' deep, sexy drawl have earned her a fast-growing following. Besides selling out club dates, Chambers recently taped a duet with Steve Earle for Austin City Limits, while Dwight Yoakam told Rolling Stone she's "stunning" and said he'd like to work with her. Lucinda Williams, Fred Eaglesmith, and Matthew Ryan did just that on The Captain's recently completed follow-up.
"It's all been very stunning and flattering," she says. "When I wrote The Captain, I'd never been to America, so I didn't think for a minute it would fit in anywhere over here. And it wasn't until I got here that I realized everyone in America knows who Hank Williams is. In Australia, I was the odd one out listening to Hank Williams, Lucinda, Gram Parsons, and Emmylou. I guess I just don't feel as weird here."