Copyright ©2012 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

In their native Australia, Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson are chart-topping country stars. They're not as well-known in the U.S., but they've been steadily churning out albums. Their latest is called "Wreck & Ruin," and Meredith Ochs has this review.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FAMILIAR STRANGERS")

KASEY CHAMBERS: (Singing) Like a walk down a dead-end street...

SHANE NICHOLSON: (Singing) Like a ship sailed and lost at sea...

MEREDITH OCHS, BYLINE: Young, beautiful, talented and married, Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson seem to lead a charmed life. They travel with their baby daughter, named Poet, and perform all over the world together. But the title of their new CD, "Wreck & Ruin," gives a peek into some of their darker material. How could a couple who enjoy such an exalted existence, who look so happy on the outside, sing a song like this one?

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FAMILIAR STRANGERS")

CHAMBERS, NICHOLSON: (Singing) We can make believe it's worth fighting for, but I don't even know you anymore because we're just familiar strangers. We don't know any better. Oh, why do we hold our breath and wait when it's too late? It's too late.

OCHS: OCHS: Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson write a lot about the ups and downs of intimate relationships. They were both solo artists for years before they started making music together, and it's as if their songs depicting romantic strife are really a reflection of their struggle to maintain autonomy within their creative partnership. They're clearly working at it, in the building metaphor they use in this song.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FLAT NAIL JOE")

CHAMBERS, NICHOLSON: (Singing) Well, you got the timber, and you got the steel, a whole bag o' hooks and fishing reel. You got the oil for the rusty gate. You got forever, but you're always late. Let's go, go, Flat Nail Joe. Everybody knows where the wind will blow. Old friend, why so low? Got to stand up now, Flat Nail Joe. Let's go, go...

OCHS: OCHS: The simple arrangements, and mostly stripped-down instrumentation, of this new CD give it the feel of American mountain music; and are the perfect backdrop for the real magic between the two performers - the way their voices play off one another. Most couples have a way of creating their own language, their own narrative, and their own unique road to travel. The rest of us can only observe from the outside. But Kasey and Shane sound glad to give us a glimpse into their private universe.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE QUIET LIFE")

CHAMBERS, NICHOLSON: (Singing) We could get a job on the movie screen, smile on the cover of a magazine, or we could just be man and wife happy in the quiet life.

BLOCK: The new album from Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson is called "Wreck & Ruin." Our reviewer Meredith Ochs is a D.J. and talk show host with SiriusXM Radio.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE QUIET LIFE")

CHAMBERS, NICHOLSON: (Singing) Traffic don't keep you up at night, here in the quiet life. Now and then, I'm loving the world again. And I'll be fine, living in the quiet life...

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.