Kasey Chambers | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Kasey Chambers

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Even before Kasey Chambers's debut album, The Captain, hit U.S. shelves in 2000, Lucinda Williams was raving about the 24-year-old Aussie. Skeptics suspected that Chambers's appeal with such middle-aged No Depression types owed much to her "exotic" air (oft-noted nose ring, New South Wales address); lyrics like "I'm not much like my generation / Their music only hurts my ears" stirred accusations that she was blatantly kissing up to her elders. But Chambers's voice is undeniable--it's full-throated and resonant, carries a hint of Dolly Parton's girlish brightness, and can unexpectedly shift into an exuberant yodel. On her third album, Wayward Angel (Warner Brothers), she still inhabits an odd zone between country purism and confessional singer-songwriterdom, though she's less sassy and more plaintive now--the woman who openly mimicked Hank Williams is mostly absent. And her voice still resists any criticism--it's cuter and more playful on songs like "Pony," often flirting with an equally coltish guitar. In 2000 she sang, "I don't have answers for every single question / But that's OK 'cause I'm just a kid." Today she wonders, "Wouldn't you think I'd have it all figured out by now?" and her new mild vocal approach is fitting for her precocious yet maturing persona. Holly Williams opens. Friday 11/19, 7:30 PM, the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield, 773-472-0449 or 312-559-1212, $25. All ages.

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