Kasey Chambers

Little Bird

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Kasey Chambers has a dozen years on Taylor Swift -- hell, she could have been an influence -- but since the Pennsylvania girl took over the world, Chambers landed on the "you may also like" list. Not that that's a bad thing, though, as the ladies share the same brand of streamlined country-pop that sounds universal enough to appeal to romantic music aficionados anywhere in the world, but without losing that American vibe that Chambers creates no less skillfully for being an Australian. Little Bird is more old school, as it peppers the pop hits with honest to God country numbers, complete with banjo and fiddle -- see "Georgia Brown" or the closer. But while those are nice, there's no arguing that the multi-platinum sales Chambers enjoys on her home turf are due to a different facet of her sound -- those simple guitar-driven tunes that owe as much to folk and Bryan Adams as to Dolly Parton and the Man in Black. The melodies are simple and so are the lyrics, but as long as the emotion is genuine, the simplicity is a benefit, and Little Bird has enough of those, be it dynamic rockers backed by electric guitars ("Down Here on Earth") or delicate strummed balladry ("Somewhere"). Now, Swift does it better -- possibly because she is younger and more naive, but actually because she's just more adept at tapping that sappiness vibe that people in love anywhere in the world can relate to. With Chambers, the music and the words sometimes tether on the brink of cliché, not archetype. But for the most part, she is still able to deliver her tunes with honesty that makes you think about feelings she's conveying, not her recording budgets, as is the case with many over-processed country stars out there.

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