Article is published by Tokyo Rosenthal
I don't go out to hear music very often. Either I'm playing somewhere or I just don't have the patience to watch others play. It frustrates me to just watch and listen. I need to play. Even when I listen to the radio or a CD I usually have a guitar, or a drum or keyboard in my hand.
Anyway I make exceptions for people whose CDs blow me away. Recent ones have been the Indigo Girls and Krauss/Plant. The most recent however was Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson. If it's possible to wear out a CD I've worn out "Rattlin' Bones". It's just great.
So they were playing the Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, NC. Small place so it's like seeing them at a wedding or Bar Mitzvah. It's open seating so Carrie and I got there early to stake out seats and to talk to Kasey, etal prior to the show.
My friends in Australia know her and her soundman Pete in particular so they made sure to have me go back and say hi from them and now I had a proper introduction to do so. As I knew the lay of the land at "The Cradle" it was easy to find the dressing room. After a loud knock I unceremoniously barged in, introduced myself and asked for Pete saying that I had greetings from their "homies" down under. Well Pete wasn't there but a very cordial Kasey and Shane and Daddy Bill were there. Likely they weren't used to this pushy "Japanese Heab" but they were really nice, acknowledged knowing my friends, told me they were going to Knoxville next and then Pete came in right on cue as I was talking about my friend John Brommel who lives 3 houses down from Pete back in Australia. We spoke briefly as it was time for them to go on and ever the opportunist I gave them a copy of "Love Won Out" to play on their bus ride to Knoxville.
Someone had told me that Shane and Kasey weren't a couple. Wrong!!!! They are married with two kids. And they are a hilarious couple.
Anyway shortly they took the stage and were terrific. The opened with Rattlin Bones with just Shane on some sort of "National " guitar and both of their vocals. Daddy Bill joined them next and that was the line up. Bill is sort of a Buddy Miller type of guy. Plays and sings everything. Shane is an accomplished guitarist and admittedly a mediocre banjoist. But the voices were soooo cool as are their originl songs. Kasey's vocals are so strong and "organic". Like Loretta Lynn only better, yes better. I really like the way Shane sings and his ability to sing low harmony ala John Lennon. Very difficult to do, at least for me.
They played about half of the songs from Rattlin, some of Kasey's solo stuff, some Shane solo stuff, a cover of GP's "Still Feelin Blue", and amazing vocal cover of "You Don't Know Me" by Kasey with Shane quite frankly playing the wrong chords to the bridge(sorry, but it's true), Shane doing great read on a Paul Simon's "Boy In The Bubble" and a couple of songs from their new kids album, "The Little Hillbillies".
More importantly they were the warmest act I've ever seen. Kasey just lights up the stage with her stories and the chemistry between her an Shane is "wow". Very Carter family but more so. I love Alison Krauss but let's face it she's painfully shy. While Alison is the better musician Kasey is the better singer and the better performer. And not a pretencious bone in her body. After all these years she's happy to be there playing to a relatively small crowd in Carrboro, which for those of you not from here is really part of Chapel Hill, but the more rustic, earthy, "hippy" section.
So they played their two song encore and said goodnight. I saw Bill on the way out and he made a point of thanking me for the CD again. Great guy. Great people. I don't remember the last time I was compelled to write something like this. While I've got your attention let me mention that I'll be on tour in the UK in November and hope to be a fraction of what I just saw.Maybe Carrie who's joining me can play percussion and add to the banter, not that I'm ever at a loss for words. And I've finished recording my new CD "Ghosts" which will be out in January and I will appreciate if everyone would buy as it's gone over budget. Lots of good pickers and "blowers" and drummers on this one.