Kasey Chambers ' INTO THE UNKNOWN'
She’s always been unafraid to venture into new
territory, to experiment and to discover new
ways to reinvent herself and her music.
Which is why she’s taken a whole new
approach with her latest album, Bittersweet.
After creating nine studio albums under the guiding hand
of brother Nash Chambers (two of them with former
husband Shane Nicholson), she – at Nash’s suggestion –
chose to record the album with American producer Nick
DiDia at Studios 301 in Byron Bay.
DiDia has worked with the likes of Pearl Jam, Bruce
Springsteen, Powderfi nger and The Living End, and he’s
brought a very diff erent style to Bittersweet, one that’s
taken Kasey to some fascinating new places musically.
“It’s been four years since I released my last solo album,
Little Bird, and a lot has happened to me in that time –
there have been some major life changes,” Kasey said.
“I gave birth to my beautiful daughter Poet, my
marriage ended, and we’ve had to sort through a lot of
emotional stuff and just working out how to arrange our
lives. There have been some really wonderful times and
some very hard times, and it all aff ects who you are –
personally and musically.
“I did a lot of writing through that time – as you do
when you’re experiencing an emotional rollercoaster – and
those are the songs on Bittersweet.”
It was actually Nash’s idea for Kasey to take a new
approach to recording her latest album.
“He felt it would be good for me to step into the
unknown, and we both really loved Nick’s work. Nash
was there with me for the whole thing, and he loved the
process as much as I did.
“I wanted to challenge myself, to have an experience
making a record that I’d never had before.”
For Kasey, it meant letting go of much of the control
she’s had over her last few albums.
“It almost felt like it did recording my fi rst album, The
Captain, 15 years ago. I had to let go a bit and let things
roll – and I’m not really very good at that. It was scary but
it was also really exciting.”
In a way, Kasey says, letting someone else take over the
production role gave her some more freedom to express
“When I write songs, I don’t even think
about the audience – I try to forget that they’ll
ever have to be shared with anyone. I write
about things that matter to me, and that are
real. I never try to make my music rosy and
happy,” she said.
“I hope people will relate to them – that
they’ll make a connection. But I’ve always
made sure that the creative process is
completely separate from my career – I never
start from the point of asking what people
might want me to do.
“I don’t want to write songs based on what
I think people want to hear – I just hope that
in the end, this is what they will warm to.”
It seems that Bittersweet has hit the mark
perfectly. The album debuted in the number 1
spot on the ARIA Country Albums chart, and at
number 2 (behind Jimmy Barnes) on the ARIA
Albums Chart, showing that Kasey’s many fans
are eager to come on this new journey with her.
Her fi rst run of Bittersweet concerts sold
out quickly, and she played the Gympie Muster
main stage to a rapturous reception from a
huge crowd on the hill, and the album fl ooded
out of the Muster Store.
“I loved the Muster – for me it’s always like
coming home, and it was so exciting that the
audience loved the new songs,” Kasey said.
She used the same band that appeared
on the album, including guitarist Declan Kelly,
Bernard Fanning and Matthew Englebrecht –
and, of course, her father Bill Chambers.
Both Bernard and Bill feature prominently
on Bittersweet. Bill’s musical infl uence on
Kasey is very much in evidence on the sparse
and beautiful country classic House On A
Hill, which Kasey says came from a very deep
place. It was only right that Bill should lend his
distinctive vocals to the track.
Bernard duets with Kasey on her new single,
the album’s exquisite title track, which she
describes as her favourite track on the album.