Monday, November 17, 2008
IN AUSSIE NEWS...Kasey, Shane, and Angus
It's been 30 years since I last saw AC/DC live. It was a sweltering August night and to make matters worse, the venue, NYC's Palladium was without air conditioning. I don't recall many details from that evening, except I don't remember leaving, despite the excruciating conditions. Now, if my seat back is torn, I'm out after the third song. I guess I didn't age well and certainly not as well as Angus Young and the boys. AC/DC's performance last Thursday at Madison Square Garden was loud and sweaty, and the band looked and sounded exactly the same as I (don't really) remember them 30 years ago. Same clothes, same big choruses and the same crunchy rock and roll riffs that have made this band one of the biggest and best live acts in rock n roll history. The set was short and tight and for 90 minutes the Garden threatened to slide off its foundations.
On the other side of the coin from the same side of the world, we have Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson. Here is my good friend, singer-songwriter and the man behind the brilliant release' "The Kunks," John Dunbar with his tale of love and music from down under.
I am a long time sufferer of yougottahearthis-itis. I pity my friends. When I discover a new piece of music I've fallen for, I can't help but want to spread the love. Most times I'm met with indifference, but every now and again I'm a musical Match.com.
A recent infatuation of mine is a record by an Australian husband and wife duo Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson called "Rattlin' Bones." In their homeland Chambers is a successful country singer. Nicholson lead a band called Pretty Violent Stain that sounded like a Crowded House tribute band playing unreleased material and has since put out 2 solo albums that don't sound unlike Neil Finn's 2 solo records. "Bones" is full of strumming acoustic guitars, trilling fiddles, slippery slides and porch foot stomps providing the backbeat . The songwriting is exquisite and the gorgeous vocals are like the Everlys as brother and sister. If their wedded life is half as harmonious as their voices, we could have the antipodean answer to Woodward and Newman.
I held back from spreading the word on this record since it was only out in Australia, but now that Sugar Hill has released it domestically, my campaigning has begun. The duo played the Highline Ballroom in September and the live show was one of the most engaging I've attended in years. Kasey Chambers was flanked by her hubby to the left and her papa on the right. The three of them sat on chairs all night, sipping wine between songs; it made you feel like you were interloping on a private family function. So much so that the Mrs. aired some marital battles with the audience.
She told a tale with hopes of getting the crowd's take on the disagreement. She explained that most couples have their "free pass" celebrity. Meaning that each person can pick one celebrity that, if they ever had the chance to meet, were allowed to have a one night stand without it being defined as cheating. They agreed to not choose Aussie celebrities since there was a chance they might actually run into them at some point. Chambers offered up her go-to guy: Jerry Seinfeld. After announcing the name, a collective groan of disbelief filled the venue. She was shocked at the response. " Come on.... I LOVE him. He's soo funny," she cried in Jerry's defense. Shane Nicholson quickly chimed in. " I have absolutely NO problem with that. He might be THE most non-intimidating man on the planet."
Chambers then shared the top of her hubby's sexy list.... Sheryl Crow. You could see approving nods amongst the males in the crowd and casual shrugs from the ladies. Providing the back story, she continued to tell the crowd the recent backstage argument. Turns out Shane Nicholson has a new record coming out in the coming months and his manager called right before they hit the stage to let him know he's just been offered the opening slot for Sheryl Crow's upcoming tour of Australia. The Highline Ballroom suddenly turned into "The Maury Show" with the collective hiss of the females in attendance. Nicholson claimed that you can't change the rules in the middle of the game and Chambers said that the case was not closed as they went into their next tune. Before playing the album's best track, "One More Year," Chambers said that she loved it so much that if they ever divorced, it's pre-arranged that she gets possession of this song.
Later in the set Chambers shared a charming little tale of parenthood. Telling about the ritual her husband has of singing their kids to bed to the songs of Guthrie, Dylan, and Seeger as opposed to the standard lullaby. The other night their son had a request. "Do the song about the ants," he pleaded. They looked at each other not knowing what he was referring to. " The song about the ants." he kept demanding. Still baffled, their son finally explained, " The one that goes.. The ants are my friends, they're blowing in the wind."
I just caught this announcement.
Shane Nicholson is about to take his 'Familiar Ghosts' on the road to perform live the music of the same-named brand new album he is about to release through Liberation Music.
Shane Nicholson will present his 'Familiar Ghosts' live, as a special guest of John Mellencamp and Sheryl Crow.
Uh-oh. I hope Mellencamp can do some quality C-blocking. Yes, a Crow-Nicholson album could be intriguing, but I'd rather have a sequel to Rattlin' Bones.
Take a look at video for the title track from this wonderful record.