Kasey Chambers: Little Bird (Liberation)

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Kasey Chambers: Train Wreck
Kasey Chambers: Little Bird (Liberation)

Almost a decade ago this Australian singer-songwriter penned Not Pretty Enough, a penetrating chart-topper about self-doubt. The title track here sounds like its rejoinder with the wisdom of years: Chambers sings of a broken relationship, how a little bird told her what to do the get the guy back, “but I don't want you that bad”.

This irrepressibly catchy song and Invisible Girl (about that feeling of going unnoticed) show although Chambers might be a married mother of two she still understands those awful feelings of adolescence. And although nominally an alt.country artist these songs and others here have a sharp pop quality that could easily cross to the intelligent teen market.

Elsewhere are songs of adult concerns: Somewhere (with Patty Griffin) is about the indifferent or unkind world of broken promises(“and I'm all cried out”); This Story is an edgy rocker of heartache (“take her out and put me back in, I just can't win”); and Love Like a Hurricane is a lap steel ballad with Kevin Bennett as the other half (“we got to roll with the punches . . . ask for forgiveness”) . . .

Chambers is happier now so the dark songs are fewer than on her terrific Rattlin' Bones (with husband Shane Nicholson, here along with her guitarist dad Bill) and tracks like Georgia Brown sound like they came in rush of infectious enthusiasm.

But brittle rockers like Down Here on Earth have a rubbed raw feel.

Chambers finds smart songs in happiness, childhood, teen angst and adulthood.

NB: There is a deluxe edition of this excellent CD worth seeking out; it comes with another disc of three extra songs and Chambers speaking about each track on the album;and an interview DVD which captures the essence of the self-effacing and very funny Chambers, the kind of person you'd be real happy to have round at the house for a barbecue.

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