When Australian country singer Kasey Chambers performed earlier this month at the Santa Monica pier, she admitted early on that she might be a little jetlagged. She had only flown from her homeland to Los Angeles the day before and wasn’t really sure what time it was. Standing on the outdoor stage that overlooked the Pacific Ocean, it was obviously night-time but her confession was all part of her Chamber’s charm.
On one hand, she can deliver an heart-aching, twangy tune like “Pretty Enough” but she also has a goofy sense of humor that shown itself in chatty onstage comments (like when she equated herself to Australian trailer trash because her sons have two different fathers and with her ragged bluegrass medley that incorporated “Video Killed The Radio Star” and “Staying Alive.”).
The casualness of the free outdoor setting (part of the long-running Santa Monica Pier Twilight Dance series) suited Chambers’ laidback style. Her hour-long set featured around 10 tunes that covered her recording career, ranging from breakout songs like “The Captain” and “We’re All Gonna Die Someday” to more recent originals like “Devil On Your Back” and the bluegrassy “Georgia Brown.”
In-between songs, she gushed how this show was the “coolest gig ever,” shared how her dad (Bill, who plays guitar in her band) took his family to live in an isolated area of Australia and how she is bringing her baby daughter on this tour (adding a different type of vomit to the tour bus experience). Chambers also spoke about touring with her idol Lucinda Williams, before doing a rendition of Williams’ “Happy Woman Blues” as well as giving the mic to her dad and her 19-year-old fiddle player Ashley Dallas, so they could do a country duet.
Chambers isn’t the household name in America that she is in Australia (where she’s well-known enough to have penned her autobiography), but hopefully she’ll expand beyond her Americana fan-dom here. Her next album is a duet disc with her husband, Shane Nicholson, entitled Wreck And Ruin, which Sugar Hill will release on Oct. 22.