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The Captain

Kasey Chambers
The Captain
Asylum Records

Only 24, Australian singer/songwriter Kasey Chambers is frequently compared to American heroines like Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams. Her critically acclaimed album, The Captain, features songs she wrote or co-wrote between the tender ages of 15 and 22, and it displays a remarkable maturity. Chambers has an instinctive ease with the earthy traditions of folk, country and Americana, and her delicate yet gritty vocals add emotional depth to her lyrics. Fans of Julie Miller will no doubt fall in love with Chambers, and it only makes sense that Julie's husband, Buddy Miller, contributed his prized vocals to "These Pines" and "The Hard Way." Other highlights include the sweet twang of "This Flower," the open-road independence of "Don't Talk Back," the sleepy quiet of "Southern Kind of Life" and the rip-roaring hard-luck storytelling of "Last Hard Bible." On "Cry Like a Baby," Chambers confesses, "I'm not much like my generation/Their music only hurts my ears." Her music, however, is delightful all the way around. (Sarah Quelland)

Sleighed: The Other Side of Christmas

Various Artists
Sleighed: The Other Side of Christmas
Hip-O Records/Universal Records

Putting a fun alternative spin on the idea of a Christmas album, this modern collection kicks off with the humorous opening track, "You Ain't Getting Shit for Christmas," by Red Peters. While the Mighty Mighty Bosstones' "Xmas Time (It Sure Doesn't Feel Like It)" sounds like something the Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen, would lend his gritty vocals to. Beck's "The Little Drum Machine Boy" takes a funky electronic approach. Sonic Youth also offers a rendition of Martin Mull's "Santa Doesn't Cop Out on Dope." Sleighed also features fairly straight-forward but souped-up renditions of traditional carols, including Plankeye's "Away in a Manger," Local H's "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," the Smithereens' "Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer" and Goldfinger's "White Christmas." Other highlights sure to bring holiday cheer include Less Than Jake's speedy punk version of the perennial classic "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer;" Spinal Tap's melodramatic "Christmas With the Devil;" and the Little Stinkers' comical "I Farted on Santa's Lap (Now Christmas Is Gonna Stink for Me)." (SQ)

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From the December 7-13, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2000 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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