Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson

Rattlin' Bones

Forget everything you know about Australian alt-country chanteuse
Kasey Chambers before sitting down to listen to the album she co-wrote
and recorded with husband, Shane Nicholson, who used to be a pop-rock
star in his native land. Forget it all, because there’s very little
that’s “alternative” or precious about Rattlin’ Bones, a thick
slab of traditional American music that owes more to the folk and
bluegrass moments in the careers of Johnny Cash and June Carter than
anything related to Ryan Adams. Relying on deceptively simple song
structures, Chambers and Nicholson offer an emotionally engaging and
wide-ranging cast of characters, from the ghostly lovers in the title
track to the gospel-minded preacher man of “The House That Never Was.”
Each song has its own unique groove, whether it’s the stained
honky-tonk strut of “Sweetest Waste of Time” or the crazed Appalachian
free-for-all of “The Devil’s Inside My Head.”

Intimate and elegant in every respect, Rattlin’ Bones feels
like it was recorded in a single take with live musicians. Arrangements
are simple yet powerful, with only acoustic guitars, banjo, fiddle, and
kick drum to decorate the warmly intertwined voices of Chambers and
Nicholson. They sound like imperfect lovers in some songs, perfect
highway killers in others. If only more roots music sounded this
authentic, this attuned to the best and worst impulses in men and
women. (Sugar Hill)

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