Kasey Chambers – Barricades and Brickwalls (Warner Bros.)
If it weren’t for Kasey’s voice with has a twang that’s both fragile and gutsy, it would be easy to dismiss this as new country which just isn’t risky enough. You get the idea that the record company really pressured her for some radio-friendly pabulum. Because when Kasey lets herself play real foot-shuffling country like “A Little Bit Lonesome,” you feel like you’re at the Opry 30-40 years ago. But the sickly sweet stuff like “Not Pretty Enough” is safe adult-contempo radio fodder. There’s great country twang here in “Still Feeling Blue” and “On a Bad Day,” but the record is almost divided in half between the good country and the pop-efforts. Stick with the authentic stuff, Kasey, we’ll love you for it.