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On Record, A Husband And Wife Are 'Familiar Strangers'
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On Record, A Husband And Wife Are 'Familiar Strangers'

Music Reviews


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.


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?


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.


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.


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.


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...


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