My first exposure to Australian country/pop export Kasey Chambers came in 2008 when she and singer/songwriter (now ex-)husband Shane Nicholson teamed up for the terrific “Rattlin’ Bones.” I’ve followed her career closely ever since, including a pair of first-rate solo records (2010’s “Little Bird” and 2011’s “Storybook”) and another record with Nicholson (2012’s sublime “Wreck & Ruin”).
For her first post-divorce album (she and Nicholson split in 2013), Chambers delivers one of the best platters of her esteemed career in 10th studio effort “Bittersweet.” The four years between solo projects proves to be well worth the wait on this twangy 12-track gem.
“I wanted to have an experience making a record that I had never had before,” Chambers says of her first recording without brother/manager Nash Chambers as producer. “I wanted to challenge myself and I wanted to be excited.”
The results are nothing short of fantastic. Things get off to a fast start with “Oh Grace” and after a minor misstep (“Is God Real”), Chambers rights the ship and delivers a near-perfect platter the rest of the way. Among the highlights here are “Wheelbarrow” (with Ashleigh Dallas), “Hell of a Way to Go,” “House on a Hill,” the title track and set closer “I’m Alive.” Here’s hoping she won’t wait so long between albums next time. (Jeffrey Sisk)