Kasey Chambers strikes motherlode of inspiration

By MIKE CHAIKEN

EDITIONS EDITOR

Most artists these days release a single, maybe an EP, and if they’re lucky, a single length album.

But Australian Kasey Chambers’s latest, “Dragon Fly” is a double-length album that not only offers twice the music other artists will record, but twice the quality material other artists would attempt to create.

The album, which earned a slew of critical kudos, topped the Australian album and country charts.

Now Chambers is coming to Connecticut with a show at the Infinity Hall in Norfolk on Saturday.

We caught up with Chambers via email to talk about the album and the upcoming show.

Observer: The new album finds you covering a wide range of genres. I hear some bluegrass. I hear some folk. I hear some soul. I hear some blues. I hear some gospel. First of all, in your mind, what was the connecting thread through all of these genres and through the songwriting that felt like it all needed to be committed onto a double album?

Kasey: To be honest I don’t think much about genres when I’m writing. It often is based around what I’m listening to at the time but sometimes they just come out of left field. I try not to overthink it and just let them come out the way they want to. And then the production can have an influence on genre at times to.

O: Clearly, you were in the midst of a motherlode of inspiration. How did it feel as all of these songs began to take shape and you realized how much good material was being presented to you by the muses?

K: It’s been a while since my last album so there’s been some time to write and I’ve been through a lot of different things in my life, which is good fuel for song. I also had vocal surgery, which gave me a new voice and sparked a lot of different songs too

O: Although in America, he’s not as well known, you worked with Paul Kelly (of Paul Kelly and the Messengers), who in Australia is a musician of considerable renown. What was it like for you to be working with him as a producer and how did he help you shape “Dragonfly” into a comprehensive piece of art? (Kasey’s brother Nash also produced one disc of the two-disc record.)

K: I have wanted Paul Kelly to produce an album for me for a long time so I basically annoyed him until he said yes. It was a dream recording session for me and was everything I’d hoped for and more. He really brought out some new sides of me musically but still made me feel like there was a lot of “me” in the whole session.

O: You’re Australian. And at least from the point of view of an American listener, most of your sound draws from an American tradition. What has been the appeal of these styles of music, from the point of view of you—the fan of music—and you—the musician?

K: I grew up listening to mostly American music. I lived in a very remote area in Australia for most of my childhood so I wasn’t exposed to any other music than what my dad listened to.  He liked Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Graham Parsons and Emmylou Harris, Merle Haggard, Ray Charles, Amazing Rhythm Aces. I feel much more connected to American music than Australian music but I’ve always felt very connected to the Australian land so my music has become a combination between those things.

O: How does it feel when you play in America, presenting your music to American ears?

K: I feel grateful. Grateful that you all allow me to come to your country, steal your music, claim it as my own, and then sell it back to you. Grateful for that. I feel very much at home on stage in America. I always feel a connection with the audience.

O: When you come to perform in the states, what can newcomers to Kasey Chambers expect from you in a live setting?

K: I will obviously play a few songs from “Dragonfly,” but I still love going back and playing my old songs so there will be a lot of them. I like for people to go away from my gigs feeling like they know me better as a person— not just a musician/ singer/ songwriter. I like it to feel like we’ve just hung out in my lounge room together for a couple hours. My songs all have a lot of stories and life behind them. That part is just as important as the actual song for me.  I like to share a lot. Sometimes too much.

Kasey Chambers performs at the Infinity Hall, Route 44, Norfolk on Saturday, July 8 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $34 to $49.

For more information, go to InfinityHall.com or KaseyChambers.com

Kasey Chambers is coming to the Infinity Hall in Norfolk Saturday.