Kasey Chambers: Little Bird

Kasey Chambers
Little Bird
Sugar Hill
Rating: ★★★★☆

When Australian Kasey Chambers first stepped into the limelight, she seemed like a little bird — young and delightfully precious, if not precocious. She idolized Lucinda Williams, and toured with — and sometimes sounded like — America’s own Americana queen. But on “Little Bird,” Chambers harks back to her early era, without for a minute sounding reminiscent of any other artist. Her delivery still contains childlike elements, even on “Beautiful Mess,” about the chaotic experience of parenting two boys with co-producer/bandmate/husband Shane Nicholson. The title cut, a mid-tempo pop song Taylor Swift should cover, is almost an anomaly among tracks like the heavy-bluegrass “Georgia Brown” and beautiful ballads like the sad “Somewhere,” which features songbird Patty Griffin, and “Love Like A Hurricane,” Chambers’ beguiling duet with Kevin Bennett. But the band rocks out on “Down Here on Earth” and goes downright punk on “Train Wreck.” The good news is, it all works.