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Album Review: Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson - Wreck & Ruin

27 September 2012 | 2:52 pm | Jake Dennis

The lyrical content of the album paints an image of a dilapidated rural setting: a dustbowl with rusted shoes, tombstones, and a hardworking farmer called Flat Nail Joe.

Australian country music fans will salivate over the rollicking rhythms and sing-a-long melodies that colour Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson's combined release Wreck & Ruin. Available in an 18-track double CD deluxe edition as well as the 13-track standard release, the album showcases the united songwriting talents of Chambers and Nicholson on fun-size tracks, most of which are just over 2.5 minutes long. On this album, country songbird Chambers abandons her guitar for the banjo and Nicholson concentrates on harmonies while working in the harmonica, guitar, and accordion among other instruments with the four-piece band.

The lyrical content of the album paints an image of a dilapidated rural setting: a dustbowl with rusted shoes, tombstones, and a hardworking farmer called Flat Nail Joe. The one salvation in this landscape is found in religious mythology and the spirituality of the music itself. The songs are arranged with the upbeat tracks surrounding the album's musically reverent and mellow centre. Death, represented in the foreground by the skeletons on the album cover, is the subject of the first and last tracks.

Despite being an album featuring a musical married couple, the songs are not romantic songs. The duo sing, not to each other, but as storytellers performing on the road to an energetic and appreciative crowd, much like June Carter and Johnny Cash in Walk The Line. Adam & Eve is the lead single from the album but the strongest track is Have Mercy On Me. The album seems destined for an Australian tour.