Covers Are Juxtapositions
As song juxtapositions go, placing Gillian Welch's Orphan Girl against Cyndi Lauper's True Colors is intriguing. Kasey Chambers' latest covers album is pretty damn sound throughout, and the duet on Orphan Girl with Shane Nicholson is one of the stand-out versions throwing into interesting relief the slightly child-like vocal on the Lauper track: perhaps too much inspiration transferred to mimicry? The songs on the album are Chambers' 'fave songs from my fave artists that have inspired me over the years'. Speaking of favourites, others of mine from the album are: the excellent Townes Van Zandt's If I Needed You [with Jimmy Barnes], Steve Earle's Nothing But A Child [with the Lost Dogs], a lively version of John Prine's Leave The Lights On, Hank Williams' I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry [with Paul Kelly], and a funky rendition of James McMurty's Too Long In The Wasteland. Of course, the initial songwriting of these is paramount, and Chambers' vocal at times has a twang-whine that could grate, but overall she sings with such enthusiasm and passion that it works into a strong whole.