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Kasey Chambers -- The Captain (Asylum).   She's from Australia, but you'd never know it by listening to this record -- it's what Nashville sounds like when it get things right once in a blue moon.  If you like Julie Miller, then you'll probably like Kasey Chambers (and Julie sings on one of these cuts).  And in her liner notes, Chambers says "If angels could sing they would sound like Julie Miller."  My only problem with this assertion is the underlying assumption that angel's can't sing. Anyway, the track Julie sings on is the title cut, "The Captain."  It's a song of resignation from an aging beauty ("..if I tread upon your feet you just say so / 'cause you're the Captain, I am no-one / I tend to feel as though I owe one to you"). [wake up, Christgau]  Her voice has that "angel" quality of Julie Miller's, and a bit of a whiskey-soaked Lucinda Williams rasp as well, and boy does she know how to use it.  Check out "These Pines" and hear for yourself as she draws water from the same well as any great female vocalist that you can name from the history of country music, with the great Buddy Miller singing harmony -- and then the fiddle glides in on the second verse and you're intoxicated with sound.  Simply gorgeous, as is "The Hard Way" which also has Buddy singing and a lonely fiddle.  Like her singing, she's a gifted writer.  Upon hearing "This Flower" the first time, I nearly choked on my morning coffee ("..this flower is my soul / but it's not half of what I owe / I should give you every rose that ever grew").  She's 24 years old and looks like a model, but writes like a veteran and sings like, well, an angel -- an angel that's had her heart broke and appreciates the fact that those who love her kept the faith.  Here's hoping the Nashville mafia doesn't get a hold of her and turn her into another... well, you know.  I'm betting that she'd tell 'em where to go if they ever tried.  Exhibit A is the final cut, "We're All Gonna Die Someday" ("if they want to kiss my ass well they better do it fast / 'cause we're all gonna die someday").  -TRS

Track listing:

1. Cry Like a Baby
2. The Captain
3. This Flower
4. You Got the Car
5. These Pines
6. Don't Talk Back
7. Southern Kind of Life
8. Mr. Baylis
9. The Hard Way
10. Last Hard Bible
11. Don't Go
12. We're All Gonna Die Someday

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