Bill Chambers

Record Review

Phases and Stages

Bill Chambers

Sleeping With the Blues (Reckless)

With his now nearly famous daughter Kasey on a music industry hiatus after the birth of her child, Australian (and frequent Austin guest) Bill Chambers has cranked out his first solo album in more than a decade. 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.

***

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