Every now and then a musician will come into contact with their perfect mentor, someone able to not only see the best in them, but also bring out the best. For local singer/songwriter and country musician Lou Bradley, the minute she heard Bill Chambers play, she knew he was the one.
Turns out the musical attraction was mutual. Bill has since played on all of Lou’s albums. Most recently he has produced Moonshine, Bradley’s stunning new offering.
Can you tell me about how your first met Bill Chambers?
I first met Bill at Tamworth Country Music Festival. We first went down to check out the fest in 2005 and I hadn’t really found any music at all that I was interested in and we were about to turn around and go home, never to return, when we discovered the famous Bill Chambers sessions at The Pub. This was the music I had been looking for. Old-timey country music straight from the soul. I was like an overwhelmed fan and went up to him after my show and introduced myself and gave him my home-spun EP.
Was it intimidating to have Bill critiquing your work?
I guess it kinda was. I’m intimidated though when I play any new song to someone. It’s like sitting in the nude in front of them for three and a half minutes while they sit and listen and watch. Though Bill was very quick to tell me that he really liked all my songs so that made me very comfortable.
What does he bring to your work as a producer?
Bill really gets my work. There’s no explaining to do, or giving any references to him. He particularly wanted to make a record like he hears it when I play live without a band. Plain and simple. With the songs leading the way. As a producer he was very good at letting that happen and making me feel very comfortable and relaxed about just being normal and sitting there in a room with him and Phil and just playing the songs. That was totally enough for him and he was very forward about letting me know that it doesn’t get any better than what we were doing. He was very emotional actually, which to me gave the project a real sense of worth.
What qualities was he looking for in Moonshine?
I think he wanted to make an album that was just the three of us sitting in a room and playing my songs. No edits or overdubs. To let the songs speak for themselves.
What have you learnt from Bill as a player and producer of music?
Bill has a great feel for my songs. His parts came very naturally like they were written in. After recording the way we did, I never want to do an album any other way. The no-bullshit approach to producing is certainly a breath of fresh air and I think I was lucky that the songs suited that.
What should we expect for your show at the Court House?
Bill is going to play a set of his songs and then we will play the album just like we recorded it. From beginning to end, just Bill on dobro, Phil on banjo and mandolin and me on guitar and songs.
Thursday April 9 at the Court House in Mullumbimby at 7.30pm. $25