The first thing that comes to mind when someone thinks of Eminem is probably not the banjo. But thanks to Kasey Chambers, this idea isn’t so far-fetched.
The Australian country songwriter has released a simply badass live version of Eminem’s hit song, “Lose Yourself,” that is more akin to a haunting western ballad than a rap anthem. With the same iconic lyrics but sung in her melancholic way, a lonesome drifter comes to mind, nervous for a gunfight rather than a rap battle. “One shot do not miss your chance to blow this opportunity comes once in a lifetime,” can apply to this situation a little too well.
The song, complete with slow picked banjo, spaghetti western-esque electric guitar lines, and reverb-laden vocals is truly a testament to the artistry that is involved in covering songs well-known and loved but twisting them into something new and refreshing.
The juxtaposition is incredible, and the eight-plus minute live rendition filmed at the Civic Theatre in Newcastle, AU, is the definition of epic. From delicate, spooky banjo picking to a full-on rock symphony driven by Chambers’ powerful and gritty vocals, the song electrifies all the way through.
Listening to this cover, it’s interesting to pick out the various pieces that are influenced by Chamber’s tastes in music. As Chambers grew up listening to the legendary Hank Williams, country queen Emmylou Harris, and The Man in Black Johnny Cash, it’s most entertaining to hear the connection between these country heroes and Detroit’s prodigal hip hop son.
Chambers grew up on country and roots music in South Australia. Living on the Nullarbor Plain and traveling with her musical family all over Australia, she got a taste of the same rambling spirit present in the music of country greats. But it was her family’s Dead Ringer Band that formed her first live performance experiences.
She’s been at it ever since.
Throwing genres in a blender and hitting puree, Chambers proves that labels can be broken. This iconic heavy rap song can transcend to something that accompanies a hangman’s gallows rather than a Detroit club.