Don Chambers

Don Chambers is an Athens, Georgia-based singer/songwriter whose latest album, Zebulon, was produced by Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers fame. His music is thick with banjo, steel guitar, and thumping percussion, laced with dark lyrics. And on Zebulon, Chambers sounds like he wants to be Tom Waits and/or Nick Cave. This is what's called damning praise. Chambers certainly displays some extraordinary and unique talents, with his gruff, scratchy voice and knack for writing poetic songs about the seedier sides of life. But it's these exact stylistic similarities to those other icons that can distract: At times, Chambers' vocal style can sound forced, almost comical. But just when you're ready to write him off as a Waits impersonator, beautifully crafted songs like "I Can Waltz" or the Hood-backed "Highwater" bring you back into the fold.

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Brett Gillin