Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Kasey Chambers - Wayward Angel (WB, 2004)

On first listen I am totally knocked out by the sound and production quality of Kasey Chambers' third album, Wayward Angel. This should really have come as no surprise, being her first two albums also featured great sound and production by her brother Nash, but even still from the first note on this CD, the instruments virtually leap from the speakers with the most amazing recording quality imaginable. The mix is spacious as well, allowing all players room to breathe and to be heard. The guitars both acoustic and electric are muscular, well textured, and exquisitely played.

You might expect great production from a famous name producer, but Nash Chambers shares the same childhood backstory as Kasey, with the family spending a good portion of their childhood living in the Australian outback, then getting started in the music business with a family band consisting of parents Bill & Diane Chambers and kids, Kasey and Nash. The All Music Guide describes the Dead Ringer Band as "performers of quality country music, released seven CDs and collectively earned two ARIA's (Australian Grammys) and seven Gold Guitars at the annual Australian Country Music awards in Tamworth. Kasey was the face of the new generation in Australian country." Nash's work on his sister's three albums puts him in the same league as any of the all time great record producers you could name.

It remains to be seen if the quality of the songwriting on these fourteen new originals penned by Kasey measures up to her previous work. Her voice, being somewhat an acquired taste may be the only limiting factor in this astounding mix. However, based on the excellence of the first two records, I've come to really enjoy her singing, and I have high hopes that these new songs will resonate like those on The Captain (2000) and Barricades & Brickwalls (2002).

3 comments:

Charlie said...

Kasey Chambers voice is one whose appeal totally alludes me. The term "somewhat an acquired taste" is a nice way of saying that not everyone will like it.

koeeoaddi said...

Now see, I live for those aquired taste singers. I can completely understand why Kasey Chambers or even Patty Griffin might set someone's teeth on edge, or why it might take a while for them to grow on you.

But then of course, ::checks user name::

:-)

William Kates said...

Charlie you are absolutely correct, that is exactly what I was saying (in a good way), however with the caveat that great songs, great performance and great sound can motivate the listener to give such a record more of a chance. With repeat listening, the voice that may have initially put you off becomes one that you enjoy immensely. I think back to my first reaction to Little Feat which was intensely negative, based on Lowell George's "mumbled" vocal style. Before he died I came to love his music and his vocal style for the very same reasons that I initially detested it. Bob Dylan has achieved probably the greatest artistic and popular success anyone ever could, saddled with such a voice. Some listeners, like Koeeoaddi seem to seek out the more adventurous vocalists. Even Bjork and Tom Waits have their passionate admirers. My point is that if you can adjust to the sound of Chambers' voice, the reward is songs that are excellent with production that is extraordinary. Her first two records are among my all time favorites and her new one only was just released in the U.S. on Tuesday (9/21) but my first reaction is, well, I'm knocked out by the sound (see above).