In 1999 Kasey Chambers released her debut album ‘The Captain’, a remarkable debut from someone so young. But Chambers was hardly a novice either. Her family had long before started the Dead Ringer Band and were playing country tunes across country South Australia and further afield with Chambers already contributing vocals along with her Mum, Dad, and brother Nash. The musical grounding was important when in 1999 Chambers went solo and recorded ‘The Captain’, an album that changed her life and set her on a path towards country music royalty.
Now she returns with a new tour to celebrate the 20th anniversary of her debut and reuniting her original recording mates to give the tunes a new lease of life. “I think I’ve played The Captain at every gig I’ve done for the last 20 years. Over the years I’ve changed the songs a little at different times but for this tour, I want to play them as they were.”
Chambers very quickly picked up a sizeable fan base back in 1999 and those fans have stayed, new ones latched on to her lilting songs and vocal stylings and that loyalty remains. “I get so many people coming to the shows and saying they saw the first tour which is nice to know. They’ve stuck with you.”
This tour will be interesting not least because Chambers old bandmates will be along for the ride. “I’ll be playing the songs as they are on record and have the original band back together.”
And it tends to be those older songs that have embedded themselves into Chambers head more so than more recent tunes. “I forget lyrics to newer songs more than the old ones. I think those are locked in there forever. I’ve played them on and off a lot. Sometimes I’ll play an old song and it feels like a lifetime ago. But The Captain still feels new every night.
“When I wrote The Captain, it was about looking through my eyes in 20 years’ time. I can really relate to it now.”
Chambers was never more at home just playing with family, guitars out and singing her heart out and her gigs on this tour will have a similar feel. “My favourite shows are still sitting around a campfire with my family.”
Not that Chambers ever really though a career in music was possible or practical.
“I really wasn’t one of those people that thought I’d make a career out of music. Or the style of music would ever get played on radio. The success is nothing near what I thought it would be like. When I first left school I studied childcare. I didn’t think I’d make a living from music. I would have been a nanny. I also wanted to travel the world so maybe being overseas being a nanny. But the music took over.”
Most of us cringe a bit when we think about how we acted or what we were saying or writing 20 years ago, and Chambers does too at times but sees the bigger picture in her work.
“Certainly there are some lines I’ve written I cringe at a bit now. But that’s how I felt at the time. A lot of the appeal is the naivety and inexperience on the record.”
Chambers tour which kicks off in Melbourne in September and will see her on the road for a few months at least and the excitement she feels is very real.
“I am excited about having the original band in. And my dad too, who I am very used to touring with. He is a big part of my life and career for that matter. He has clearly always been special to me.”
Chambers has always had a special place in many Aussie music fans hearts over the years, even through her own personal demons and trials and tribulations, and she feels that love markedly every time she’s out on the road.
“It is really special that people continue to connect with ‘The Captain’ and it reminds me how much it means to people.”
Chambers hits the stage at Costa Hall in Geelong on September 14.
Written by Chris Michaels