Kasey Chambers & Warren Hood — Momo’s Club, Austin — July 14, 2011
Kasey Chambers, and Warren Hood — Momo’s Club, Austin — July 14, 2011
Over at Momo’s Club in Austin last night, Warren Hood started the show to a pretty full house. Normally he is the show as a regular there at the club, but tonight he was the opener for Kasey Chambers. He, along with cousin Marshall Hood and good friend Willie Pipkin, performed in their usual, superb style –playing original tunes as well as a few covers, including songs from Champ Hood, Warren’s Dad, who was also one of the members of Uncle Walt’s Band.
Warren is well known in Austin and beyond of course, but on this occasion there were probably a few new faces in the audience compared to usual. Midway through his set he looked at us all, reminded us of his band’s regular Sunday night gig, and – with a smile — asked us where we’ve been. Then he told everyone that he actually had not met Kasey yet. But he’d been listening to her for years, largely thanks to local radio station KGSR with programs of the past. Next thing we know, there’s Kasey making her way through the crowd to the stage, to shake his hand. She was in the audience and happy to finally be meeting and hearing him as well.
After a short break, Kasey and her band came on in a swirl of energy. To her right was father Bill Chambers, playing guitars and singing. On the other end was Australian Michael Muchow, also on guitar, mandolin, and with newly acquired banjo skills. And at her side was 18-year-old Ashleigh Dallas, here for her first visit to the States, playing fiddle, mandolin, and vocals. There was no shortage of talent.
As usual, Kasey engaged the audience continuously with her songs and her stories. My husband Jack and I have seen her a few times over these last 10 years or so; we both thought this show was the most fun. The new songs from Little Bird were excellent, and after listening to the whole CD, I highly recommend it. It was released in September of 2010. One new song, “Nullarbor (The Biggest Backyard)” involved a long story we’ve enjoyed before — about her life as a small child with her family in the wild outback part of Australia. Their vehicle was their home, while her Dad lived the unusual life of…a fox hunter. This involved nightly forays, eating whatever creatures were on hand, and waking up with a new camp most every day. From the sounds of things, it was a pleasant time for her.
Her song, “Beautiful Mess”, largely dedicated to her two sons, won the 2010 International Songwriting Competition (ICS) Grand Prize among thousands of songs judged by folks such as Tom Waits, John Mayall, our own Robert Earl Keen and Ray Wylie Hubbard, and many more well-known musicians and producers. “Somewhere” includes back up vocals by Patty Griffin. The title song “Little Bird” is the antithesis of “Not Pretty Enough”.
During our show he also played well-known older songs, including “The Captain”, which she performs at every single show she does. There was a father and daughter duet with “Don’t You Remember” from their Kasey Chambers, Poppa Bill, and The Little Hillbillies CD for children. Speaking of offspring, a favorite topic of hers, she is currently 6-months pregnant with her third child, her second with husband Shane Nicholson. Shane, by the way, was not on this trip, and has been touring with his own new release recently.
The foursome also gave their hand at bluegrass, acknowledging the folks back home aren’t as familiar with it as we are here in the States. To that end, they played their transition piece, used to break in their local Australian fans, which includes a medley of converted well-known songs such as her own “Not Pretty Enough”, along with those ‘traditional’ bluegrass tunes such as the Bee Gees “Staying Alive” and Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”. They played her new “Georgia Brown” during this part, and they also covered Nanci Griffith’s “I Wish It Would Rain” — though she asked us where Galveston was, acknowledging they had no idea.
They were scheduled to perform at our distinctive Waterloo Records store the afternoon before, always a treat for all parties. But, as luck would have it, their bus broke down on the way from Nashville. This involved a 4 ½ hour stop, while the support guys with the band worked in our ridiculously hot 100+ degree weather to fix it. Not ones to miss a good opportunity, the band wrote a new song for the occasion. I believe it was called “Lost In Texas”. This was their get-off-the-stage number, with members of the audience holding up the lyrics for them, and included lines such as: “Broke down in Greenville, on the way from Nashville, had to eat some road kill, just to stay alive… busted a flip flop walking to the truck stop….listening to Robert Earl Keen, while the ‘road goes on forever and the party never ends’….Waterloo will have to wait….” There were a few added expletives, particularly about the heat. I think you can get the picture. And the crowd was absolutely roaring with laughter and cheering all at once. Of course there was an encore, including “Barricades and Brickwalls”, one of the early songs that helped make her famous at home and elsewhere. They also covered Gram Parson’s “Grievous Angel”, with many in the audience singing along.
Kasey reminded us over and over how much she loves Austin. And, it’s safe to say, we love her too.