Album Reviews

Kasey Chambers

Bittersweet

Artist:     Kasey Chambers

Album:     Bittersweet

Label:     Rounder Records

Release Date:     08/29/2014

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A huge fan of Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson’s Rattlin’ Bones, I was pleased to see Chambers emerge from a four-year recording hiatus with a solo album. While the new songs for the most part display Kasey Chambers’ songwriting flair, something’s lacking, especially in comparison to her earlier collaborative efforts.

Chambers recorded Bittersweet live in the studio in seven days, without the help of her brother and longtime producer, Nash Chambers, and what some might hear as stark production, I hear as thin. Chambers’ cutting, heady vocals pair brilliantly in harmony, but solo they can grate after a dozen songs.

That said, her songwriting remains excellent, especially on tunes like “Christmas Day,” about Christ’s birth, “I’m Alive,” a celebration of pulling through—complete with a flipped finger to the nay-sayers in her life. “Wheelbarrow,” co-written and performed with Ashleigh Dallas, brings Chambers back to what she does best: write quirky songs, and perform them in tandem with another vocalist.

Chambers seems to be emerging from a bad spot, and although she may not be back 100%, she’s well on her way. Bittersweet’s a good album, but my money is on the next one being even better.

—Suzanne Cadgène

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