[Locals Only] Courtney Chambers

Some people just know from the start what they're meant to do. Take singer Courtney Chambers, who began writing songs at the tender age of 10 and kept at it through high school. Then, as dreams sometimes do, her ambitions faded, and she went on to college to pursue a career as a psychologist. Thankfully, once there, Chambers rediscovered her calling and picked up her guitar again, this time changing her academic direction to that of voice major.

Having played shows for more than a decade, Chambers built a catalog of three albums—one solo, two backed by a band—and her latest, Bigger and Brighter, was released last year. With the help of friends Jeff Hawley (bass), Mel Flores (drums, percussion) and Sean Hoffman (guitar, keys), this album proves to be her most sonically developed yet. With delicately layered melodies, tracks such as “Any Way” and “Old Fashioned Love Song” show off her more tender and vulnerable side, while the album's designated single is the radio-friendly “Are You Ready?” which boasts a decently catchy hook. Though mainstream-oriented, “Are You Ready?” isn't the most impressively crafted tune here—that would be “Under Zenith,” a purely instrumental trip that goes from drum-centered smashing to spacey ambience all in less than four minutes.

Though Bigger and Brighter beautifully highlights Chambers' talent, her true appeal is in soulful live performances, where she shines with starry brilliance.

Attention Orange County/Long Beach musicians and bands! Mail your music, along with your vital contact info and a decent high-resolution photo (plus any impending performance dates) for possible review to: Locals Only, OC Weekly, 1666 N. Main St., Ste. 500, Santa Ana, CA 92701. Or just be lazy and e-mail your MySpace link to ed*****@oc******.com.

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