Bill Chambers and Robyn

Bill Chambers

With a famous daughter who goes by the name of Kasey, it would be easy to get lost in the vast shadow cast by her presence and simply play the role of proud and dutiful Father. But no so for Bill Chambers, who, although still playing in his daughters’ band, has a whole successful career of his own.

Currently in Austen, Texas, Bill Chambers is preparing for a show this Wednesday night at Vertigo Bar with his newly found collaborator Robyn Ludwick, herself an accomplished musician. “I come over here to Texas quite often playing music and recording and writing songs,” Bill explained. “I am mainly here for recording this time, but I do come over to play gigs as well. I’ve got a friend that I stay with, Robyn Ludwick. She’s a singer/songwriter and we’re recording a duet album together that is almost finished.”

“I met Robyn last year and we started writng over here in a recording studio and we realised we had alot in common. She’s from a musical family as well who are famous performers over here and now she is getting known as a pretty serious singer/songwriter in her own right. I am drawn to people like that and we hit up a friensdship and we realised once we started writing that we needed to make an album together, which we have done, so that will be out at the end of this year and we already have a single out called ‘Mister Saturday Night’ which is on I-Tunes.”

With his roots strongly in Country and Western music, Bill stesses that his style of playing, while obviously being based on various other artists, is entirely his own and is all the better for it.
“It makes your music more unique if you are self – taught,” he mused.”I learnt by listening to records – I was listening to Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley and then the Beatles and the Stones. There’s alot of Country music that I like such as Johnny Cash and Kris Kristoferson, people that are singer/songwriters and I think I’ve developed a style through listening to all that, and I guess you do end up having your own style but it’s a combination of everything you listen to as a kid. My daughter Kasey, she I think has done the same thing. I brought her up listening to similar music to what I listened to and she has combined that with today’s sounds and she too has become a unique artist.”

“I’ve always been Country music most of my life, although I like the cutting edge of Country, the ragged edges and the big stories. That’s one of the reasons why I like Johnny Cash is that his songs are always about life and they’re about tragedy and murder ballads and that sort of thing. I’m always drawn to that side of Country music, the dark side. I even like Nick Cave because his songs are dark and mysterious. Robyn Ludwick and some of the other Texan writers write that way – very dark – alot of it is based around the lyrics and alot of it is poetry and I love that sort of music and Texas has a great blend of country and blues and rock and folk and Western swing. All of these elements combine here in Texas so if you’re in Austen you can go to six gigs a night and you would see something diferent at each one. There’s alot of variety in the music here. I love coming here, I learn alot.”.

Bill has been a prolific singer/songwriter from an early age, coming into the world in what many believe was the defining musical period in history. “I’ve been playing ever since I was 10 years old,” he said, “and I’m a Grandfather now! When I was ten I started learning guitar and I used to get up at some of the local things like school breakups and old time dances. With the birth of Rock and Roll in the 50’s and 60’s I of course got stuck into that and I can’t seem to leave it alone now. The older I get the busier I get.”

That not only involves his current partnership with Ludwick, but also encompasses a regular touring gig with his daughter in her band, a gig that both humbles and excites him. “Kasey claims, and she often says this on stage, she’ll say ‘this is my Dad and he taught me everything about music’,” he smiled. “Well I think that’s a bit of an exaggeration but I guess there’s some truth to it. When Kasey was very small – I have two children, Kasey and Nash and we lived in the outback – we’d sit around the camp fire at night and just sing songs. I think my kids grew up thinking this was normal that families sung together so I guess I just kept that going and she certainly claims her Dad has had an influence on her musical career.”

As the family matriarch, it would be easy to assume that life on the road with a more famous sibling would present itself with power problems, but Bill insists this is not the case. “It’s really not that difficult at all,” he laughed. “I basically just stay out of the way. I try and not make any decisions or comments, I’m just one of the band members on tour pretty much, but whenenver she needs a Fatherly talk – which isn’t very often – I’m close by. I travel with Kasey pretty much everywhere she goes and I just tag along. It’s one of the best gigs in the world because it pays well and she can’t fire me because I’m her Dad! It’s a really great band to play in because she’s got great players around her that I learn off. They are all younger than me and I’m still learning every day so I think life is pretty good.”

While already providing the world with one piece of musical elegance, Bill believes his true musical legacy is still to come. “I’d like to be remembered for music that means something, that touches you” he said. “There’s alot of shallow music around these days, music that doesn’t mean alot and I’m not saying I don’t like some of that – I like alot of pop music and I like some throwaway songs that aren’t big on substance but I think personally I would like to be remembered for songs that touch people and move people in some way.”

Kris Peters

Bill Chambers and Robyn Ludwick play the Vertigo Bar supported by the Hillbilly Goats at the Reef Hotel Casino this Wednesday night, August 6 from 8.30