Any day that contains the release of new music from Kasey Chambers is a magnificent day. The release of the EP Ain’t No Little Girl is also the start of a new era for Chambers, following surgery on her vocal cords. Her voice is different – and the most noticeable difference is that the insecurity that always infused even her most powerful songs is absent.
Lyrically, the title song contains the clue: ‘I ain’t afraid to give a damn and take it like a man’. Despite the word ‘man’, though, this is new music from one of the most extraordinary female singers in the land, and one of our most astute, musically and lyrically sophisticated singer-songwriters. Chambers’s breadth of experience and the depth of her talent are without much compare, and in case you were in any doubt it would be eliminated in that title track.
There are four tracks on this EP, which is a precursor to the album Dragonfly, which will be released during the Tamworth Country Music Festival in January 2017.
The first two tracks, ‘Ain’t No Little Girl’ and ‘Talkin’ Baby Blues’ were produced by Paul Kelly; the second two, ‘If We Had a Child’ and ‘Only Child’, are in the hands of someone who has produced Chambers many times before: her brother, Nash.
The names of the songs suggest the theme: childhood and children. But that’s where the similarities end. ‘Ain’t No Little Girl’ is a battle cry and a triumph. ‘Talkin’ Baby Blues’ is a companion piece of sorts to ‘Nullarbor Song’ (from Barricades & Brickwalls) and ‘Biggest Backyard’ (from Little Bird). On ‘If We Had a Child’ Chambers is joined by Keith Urban, and the two sound made to sing together – plus this is the most authentic Keith has sounded in many years (yes, ouch, but this is the long-gone Keith of Be Here). ‘Only Child’ is bluesy and raucous in the style Chambers has established on earlier releases.
The title track and ‘If We Had a Child’ will appear on Dragonfly but it makes no sense to wait until then to hear them. Chambers is one of those artists whose every release is significant. She has more than earned our attention, and any future plaudits that go her way will only confirm what is already clear: she is a superstar.
Ain’t No Little Girl is out now through Warner Music Australia.