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Don Chambers - Back In The Woods

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Artist: Don Chambers

Album: Back In The Woods

Label: Perfect Pitch

Review date: Apr. 3, 2002

Georgian Don Chambers sings through pipes that are parched and hungover, apologetic but proud. His is the voice of a man that’s lived four of your lifetimes in the last couple of weeks, backed by acoustic guitar, banjo, fiddle, stand-up bass, household objects as percussion and the occasional singing saw. His music leans, with equal respect, toward long-haul country and speakeasy noir, but falls into neither pigeonhole. What you’ll remember, though, are the stories and the voice.

Be they apologetic lechers (“Filipino Smile”), three-time fuckups that run crying to Jesus (“Black Creek Water”) or plain old obligate sons of bitches (“Rob Me Blind”), Chambers grants his characters their humanity but forgives nothing. Still, it’s cold comfort that they seem so at home in their squalid lives. Unless you want delusional optimism, it’s often the best you can hope for. On a day when most of the excuses for sad songs on college radio sound merely unpleasant, it’s a ray of sunshine on the icicles.

There’s nothing NOVEL here, natch. Chambers’ various moves have been on the books for a whore’s age. For a reason. How is this exilir still so potent and theraputic? That’ll stump chemists for generations to come.

By Emerson Dameron

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