Review : Kasey Chambers - Little Bird
PopmattersFor those listeners old enough to remember those classic Nanci Griffith albums from the ‘80s (Once in a Very Blue Moon, Last of the True Believers, Little Love Affairs), the latest Kasey Chambers release will serve as a welcome return to that thrilling country-folk-pop-rock sound of yesterday. On songs such as “Someone Like Me” and “Beautiful Mess”, Chambers’ sweet vocals and earnest declarations of love recall the best of Griffith and that era’s music.
For those too young to remember music from back then, these songs will be a revelation. Chambers wears her heart on her sleeve, even when she knows it will come back broken. That doesn’t mean she’s a pushover, just a romantic who chooses to act on her impulses. She conveys this with an angelic voice that suggests innocence even when she’s singing out of experience.
Chambers’ talents as a songwriter and performer allow her to take full advantage of this phenomenon. On the title track, “Little Bird”, Chambers croons self-effacing lyrics, in a little girl voice, about all the sacrifices she could make to get her boyfriend back. However, in a surprising twist, the chorus declares, “But I don’t want you that bad”. Sure, she could be the submissive girlfriend and get her man, but she understands that he is not worth the trouble.
Even on the songs of disappointment, such as the melancholy ballad “All Cried Out”, Chambers uses her voice to reflect a stoic optimism that makes her tears even more poignant. Patty Griffin chimes in and the bell-like qualities of their shimmering vocals suggest the crystallization of pain. The healing process that follows can now begin....full text
UndercoverKasey Chambers has just delivered the album of her career. ‘Little Bird’, her 5th solo studio album (not counting Rattlin’ Bones with her husband Shane), channels her stories and emotions into 14 new songs.
Kasey has done a lot of living over her 34-years. Her unconventional nomadic upbringing has been told in song throughout her career and once again we get another chapter of the story with ‘Nullarbor (The Biggest Backyard). It is the continuing story to ‘Nullarbor Song’ from her second album where Kasey sings about her father Bill’s occupation as a foxhunter, living in four-wheel drive and waking up in a different location every day.
The title track ‘Little Bird’ also revisits a story told on the ‘Barricades and Brickwalls’ track ‘Not Pretty Enough’. Both songs are about the insincerity of the music business and her decision early on to be herself....full text
Slantmagazine.Already certified platinum in her native Australia, Kasey Chambers's sixth album, Little Bird, has finally made its belated debut in the U.S. nearly a year after its initial release. Despite favorable comparisons to Lucinda Williams, Patty Griffin, and even Taylor Swift, Kasey Chambers simply hasn't connected with American audiences the way she has with listeners in her home country, where she's been a major star for well over a decade. Given that her critically hailed output has yet to boost Chambers's relatively low profile, Little Bird isn't likely to rectify that, but it's far and away the singer-songwriter's most accessible album.
While Rattlin' Bones—the extraordinary album she recorded with her husband, Shane Nicholson—was an austere, spare bit of Americana, Little Bird is more in line with the sound of her earlier records, Carnival and Wayward Angel. This one is a polished, studio-slick record of pop-country whose songs are catchy as all hell. Had Chambers not been banished to the Americana ghetto that country radio programmers won't go near, songs like "Someone Like Me" and "This Story" would fit perfectly into playlists alongside singles from Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban, and Zac Brown Band.
Chambers knows her way around a strong, simple hook. A line like "But I don't want you that bad" doesn't say much in isolation, but in the context of the record's title track, that single repeated line stands as an unexpected reversal from the self-denial and heady psychological terrain of the song's verses. Chambers plays up the most girlish qualities of her voice as she sings, "If I keep my opinion under my breath/And I only bring it out when the master says/You might come back," before she belts out the refrain. It's the economy of Chambers's songwriting that has been the source of the comparisons between her work and that of Williams, and Chambers's deep understanding of song structure allows her to create real emotional complexity from just a few turns of phrase....full text
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