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Kasey Chambers: Carnival

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Kasey Chambers has been in the spotlight since the release of her first solo album, The Captain, six years ago. That spotlight is a significant change from her childhood spent far from the bright lights and big cities growing up on Australia's Nullabor Plain. On her fourth solo release, Carnival, Chambers brand of hard-edged country just got a little harder. And a little less country.

She does a duet with Bernard Fanning, lead singer from Powderfinger, on "Hard Road" while another tune features Jim Moginie, formerly of Midnight Oil, on keyboards. Notable for his absence is Shane Nicholson, Chambers' husband and a musician in his own right. No matter who she's paired with, however, these are still her songs at heart. Her attitude ranges from confident on "I Got You Now" to penitent on "Dangerous" to hopeful on the CD's closing song, "Don't Look So Sad." The somewhat somber tinge to her tunes may have come from listening to Hank Williams as a child. "If you've heard Hank Williams for the first 10 years of your life, I think you're going to write sad songs forever. You can't get away from that," Chambers said in a recent Australian interview.

Listen to Chambers--on Carnival or any of her albums--and you'll know that you can't get away from her music either.

--Curt Nichols