Don Chambers & Goat
Warm Electronic Recordings
By James Calemine
Recorded in Athens, Georgia, Don Chambers’ Zebulon ranks as one of the best releases of 2008. The Drive By Truckers’ Patterson Hood produced this record. Chambers’ lyrics, voice, banjo and guitar style is cut from the same cloth as a young Tom Waits.
These songs carry more resonance after each listen. An eerie electric Appalachian sound echoes through these story-like songs. “Conjuring A Dead Rabbit” evokes vivid imagery of a small Georgia town. The narrative of “Falling Off the Edge” portrays a meat hook reality that lingers in its desperation.
Chambers’ banjo playing on “Open The Gates” sounds like some apacolyptic Old Testament warning of a hard rain gonna fall. Chambers provided insight to Zebulon by saying: “These are adventure songs, instructional and subjective, throw out the map and drive, the joy is in the journey. Moses said the tribe of Zebulon would suck of the abundance of the seas and of treasures hidden in the sand. That’s what we are going for here, the pirates dream of buried treasure. These songs came out of travel and adventure, being away from home and coming back. Feeling stuck and feeling like you’re floating, untethered and strange…”
“Ghostly Leg” is a hypnotic dirge. The pedal steel on “Highwater” allows the song to carry various musical crowns that grow on the listener. “Paint The Moon” sounds like a preacher’s sermon in some Charles Bukowski story. “I Can Waltz” contains only Chambers’ voice and banjo playing while “Fire In the Kitchen” brings the full-on rock and roll ensemble. “Bind My Wounds” closes the CD in a melancholy way. You’ve not heard the last of Don Chambers. You need to hear the story of Zebulon.