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Album Review

It's a shame Will Oldham already used the title "I See a Darkness," because that phase sounds like it was made to order for Don Chambers. His best songs make something new and compelling out of the Southern gothic archetypes that have dominated alt country since Jay Farrar was checking out old Smithsonian-Folkways albums at the library, and while Chambers isn't gloomy for its own sake, his characters live in a world where nothing is easy and things rarely happen the way you want or expect. Chambers has released a handful of albums on small regional labels, but Zebulon is one of his first to make much of an impression outside of his native Georgia, and it's a fine calling card for his talents both as a writer and a vocalist. Produced in part by Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers, Zebulon sometimes sounds like a Deep South variation on Nick Cave or Tom Waits, but Chambers is a good enough songwriter to make those comparisons work to his favor, and while he shares their thematic obsessions, Chambers lyrics have the casual but insistent rhythms of a true Southerner, and there's an easy grace to songs like "Highwater" and "Friar's Lantern" that reveals a humanity and compassion beneath Chambers' ravaged surfaces. Zebulon also benefits from superb instrumental work by Chambers' band GOAT, especially Matt Stoessel's incisive pedal steel and Patrick Hargon's potent lead guitar. Don Chambers tells stories of a fallen world in his songs, but there's enough honesty and human emotion to offer a glimpse of redemptive light, and Zebulon is an evocative, deeply moving album that confirms Chambers' status as one of the best new songwriters in the South.

Customer Reviews

Another awesome album from Don

This in my opinion is his second best album. The first being Back in the Woods. Both albums are great from beginning to end. It's hard to find music like this. This guy is a hidden gem.


Born: Athens, GA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Don Chambers has made a powerful name for himself in Athens, GA, where he's become a local favorite for his often dark, powerfully emotional tales of loss and the search for redemption. Raised by a churchgoing family in Florence, SC, Chambers took up music as a boy and later developed an interest in visual art. In 1988, he moved to Athens to enroll in a master's program in printmaking. Before long, however, Chambers had lost interest in both printmaking and academia,...
Full Bio
Zebulon, Don Chambers & GOAT
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