Australian country singer Kasey Chambers made a name for herself with her debut album The Captain and the hit single of the same name.
She wanted to change the way people perceived country music and if she didn't do it on The Captain, her follow up album Barricades & Brickwalls has done the job.
Chambers creates a sound that emulates the country singers of old, such as Hank Williams and his characteristic country-twang.
She has the talent to move between the genres of country and blues with ease.
Chambers has a unique voice that is high pitched, yet elegant and rough throughout the album, creating a sound that is enjoyable to listen to.
The bluesy opening track, "Barricades & Brickwalls" begins with a Tom Petty-style distorted guitar, while Chambers lets her voice go free.
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The combination of the distorted guitars and Chambers' voice creates a song that is rough, harsh and equally interesting lyrically.
Throughout the song, Chambers sings about never giving up and always getting what she puts her mind to.
She is determined to get her man, but by the end of the song one wonders if she succeeds because nothing has been resolved.
Chambers' voice guides each song, while the instruments back up her lyrics and add substance.
Each song is thick with style, creating country that is original and stylistically unique from the trite pop that is flooding the airwaves these days.
Barricades & Brickwalls shies away from the country sound that is prevalent today. Chambers and her band take us back to a time when country was original and had a style of its own.
Most every song on the album relates to a love gained or lost, but Chambers' lyrics are expressed in a way that sets her aside from most love songs.
She doesn't linger long on lovesick emotionalism. She moves on and continues to find a deeper meaning in what she has lost.
There is always a conclusion to her songs, while most other country singers will fret over the loss of a love.
On track five, "A Little Bit Lonesome," Chambers has composed a song resembling a Hank Williams love ballad.
With a fiddle and a lap steel guitar backing her vocals, she extends her voice on the word "lonesome," often making it a higher pitch than most of the other words in the song.
At the end of the track, Chambers doesn't give anything to her lost love.
She sings, "When I got home I played a honky-tonk song/I played it till my eyes went red/I grabbed a glass and said kiss my ass/I'm going to drink you out of my head."
The constant shifts from desire to proclamations of independence are recurring themes throughout her sophomore album.
Along with Lucinda Williams, Chambers may be the only country singer crossing the boundaries of contemporary country while taking the genre back to its roots.
Barricades & Brickwalls is an enjoyable album that cements Kasey Chambers' talent as a country music force that doesn't need to sell out by creating pop-soaked ballads such as those churned out by Faith Hill.