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Byron Shire
May 18, 2024

Chambers’ heart music

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For the Chambers family it would appear that music is in the blood. Fox hunter and music lover Bill Chambers took his young family into the desert where instead of watching telly they played music around the fire. He not only set his daughter Kasey on her life path, but found his own way in the process. Bill Chambers plays his first local gigs next week.

Bill you are self-taught – how has that helped fashion your signature style as a musician? Being self-taught has made me play guitar in just the limited way I learned from listening to old vinyl records. I keep it simple because that’s all I can do.

What took you to the outback? I moved to the outback with my wife and kids looking for a better lifestyle. Music became a part of that simply because we had no TV so we sang and played together for our own entertainment.

It’s a romantic notion, you and the kids sitting around the fire singing Hank Williams that would kill this iPod generation! Were you aware at the time that you were giving them something special? I don’t think it crossed my mind at the time that I was setting them up for a life in music or anything special. I just sang songs to my kids like my dad did for me.

What is it about the landscape of Australia that seems to inform country music? Much of Australia is rural, dry and barren. That lends itself to dreams about cowboys living on the land, which is the core of hillbilly music that I grew up with as a kid.

You still tour with Kasey – what’s it like taking the backseat with your daughter at the wheel? I’m perfectly happy taking a backseat to Kasey. She’s taught me a lot and I think playing in her band is the best job in the world.

What are the stories that you get from being on the road? I meet so many different people. They all have a story worth writing about.

Are you a collector of stories? What is the essence of a good story for you when it comes to songwriting? Sometimes songs come from three words someone said, or from the feeling you get watching the sunset on the desert, looking at harbour lights at midnight.

Tell me a little about the DVD Live at the Pub, Tamworth? I’ve been playing live for 13 years at The Pub in Tamworth. Most of the crowd know my songs, know what to expect at my gigs so it seemed fitting to film it there. I was lucky enough to have Kevin Bennett, Shane Nicolson and Kasey join me for a few songs.

What should we expect for your show in Mullum? My show in Mullum will be a journey through the music I grew up on and what it’s developed into today. I use various different instruments such as dobro, lap steel, mandolin and guitars to showcase anything from folk/country and blues music, with story songs about life.

Catch Bill at the Mullum Bowlo with Kim Cheshire on Sat from 7.30pm $15, or at the Mt Warning Hotel in Uki on Sun from 2pm.


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