In Rotation: Kasey Chambers' 'Little Bird'
A series in Sunday Calendar about what Times writers & contributors are listening to right now...
“You’re like the song stuck in my head that will never go away,” Kasey Chambers sings in the first track from her latest album, which boasts several such songs that quickly burrow their way into the brain.
The singer and songwriter, who grew up in the Australian Outback listening to the vintage American country music favored by her hippie parents, exploits that musical foundation beautifully in songs that often elaborate on the extremes to which love can drive us.
She lays them out in “Beautiful Mess,” deciding “You make it all worth my while.” It’s another story in the title track, in which she recounts all the methods she might use to turn a departed lover around, ultimately concluding “I don’t want you that much.” She captures the anguished essence of unrequited love in “Invisible Girl”: “Every evening I shut my eyes/To wonder why you never noticed/Never knew, all I think about is you.”
Her girlish voice recalls such Americana music stalwarts as Victoria Williams and Iris DeMent, and she seems to have access to a bottomless well of indelible melodic hooks. And anyone who can come up with a second song about Nullarbor—a region of the South Australian outback she also saluted on her 2002 “Barricades and Brickwalls” album—definitely has some kind of songwriting mojo working.
Photo: Kasey Chambers performing at the Channel Nine And Daily Telegraph telethon appeal for Queensland flood victims on January 9, 2011 in Brisbane, Australia.
Credit: Getty Images