Reviewed by Ian Phillips.
Casey Chambers & The Fireside Disciples, Essence Music 2018.
Casey Chambers’ latest album Campfire encourages us to join her for a song session around an outback campfire.
The album sets the mood with the opening song The Campfire Song.
Like many of us, Casey grew up with the campfire being central to her existence. She did her schooling around it via correspondence, it provided light and heat and it was the initial source of her education of a life in music.
Campfire is an album that Casey has wanted to make for some time. It draws on the four major regions that have inspired her musical development the most, Australia, Africa, Norfolk Island and America.
She says: “All these four places have had a significant impact on shaping who I am both musically and as a person. From my early years of my family drawing from the Aboriginal way of life to experiencing the cultures of Africa to my times living in Norfolk Island and the years I’ve spent touring America. I have taken from all of those experiences and put them into song.”
Musically the album reflects these different experiences.
There are flourishes of country slide guitar reminiscent of American country mixed with some traditional folk and the occasional blues motif.
Joining Casey on Campfire is her band, The Fireside Disciples, consisting of her favourite musicians; Brandon Dodd, Alan Pigram and of course her dad, Bill Chambers, who has been the biggest influence of all.
I like the sparseness of much of the backing on the album. Casey is supported by only one instrument. For instance, on the track, The Fox and The Bird, it is banjo.
Casey grew up listening to Emmylou Harris and the esteemed American country star joins her singing duet on the track Harvest & The Seed.
Casey is embarking on a substantial Australian tour to support the album taking her through Queensland, NSW, Victoria, The Northern Territory, the Australian Capital Territory, and South Australia.