BY ALEX TANK
Don Chambers lost his GOAT, but don’t worry; he’s just fine without it — or them, more accurately. This past week, on a brisk Wednesday evening, Hendershot’s pie-piece stage hosted an authentic Athens staple: Don Chambers! He commanded the small but attentive audience with dark acoustic numbers full of haunting Southern gothic imagery, aided by his trusty Simon & Patrick 6-string (complete with duct tape) and his tiny 70’s-style suitcase full of evocative lyrics and quiet confidence.
At six feet plus (not counting bed-head), the local legend planted himself and proceeded to paint shadowy scenes for the appreciative coffee/bar crowd at Hendershot’s garage turned venue. Alternating between blues dirges and bare bones rockers fit for Springsteen, Chambers seemed just fine to hear the backing band in his head as he whiled away the evening, at one point “trying out a new holiday-spirited one in a minor chord” as he put it cheerily.
Backwoods handsome tunes like “Until the World Runs Out of Dirt” and “Werewolf Moon’ found Chambers stripped down even further than before, yet he literally rocked in his chair . He’s a charming lyricist and no slave to rhyme which was refreshing for its unpredictability. To hear his banjo would have been grand, but finally foregoing the mic and amp led to some new clarity from a heartful writer and performer who’s clearly seen a hard night through a time or two. This last move gave the impression that if Don Chambers were in your living room jostling strums and clamboring verses up your spine, you’d realize the understated greatest in your presence.
Nearly every word Don Chambers sings is like pouring the last shot out of a beloved bottle. Next time he loses his GOAT, extract yourself from your living room, find a spot in Hendershot’s livable room, and experience something worth far more than free.