The pressure was off. Kasey Chambers had announced to her manager, record company and fans that there wouldn’t be a new album for at least another year. And then the songs came rushing out – 14 diverse compositions, all delivered fully formed, completed within a few hectic weeks in February 2010, during which Kasey also performed as opening act through Lyle Lovett’s Australasian tour. It was a mercurial creative period, the most exciting and intensive outpouring of her career: so much joyous, inspired music, brimming with irresistible energy and verve. “This album certainly took me by surprise, but I didn’t question where these songs came from; they just arrived.” Such spontaneous creativity demanded immediate action; her manager and brother Nash Chambers, agreed, and thus the Little Bird album was swiftly born.
Within a month, recordings had been completed in Nash’s Foggy Mountain Studio, using an all-star band that Kasey dubs The Millionaires; John Watson on drums, Jeff McCormack on bass, Shane Nicholson, Jim Mogine (Midnight Oil) and Kasey’s dad Bill Chambers playing all manner of guitars and stringed instruments. Then came a procession of respected guest vocalists for different tracks: Missy Higgins, Camille Te Nahu, Kevin Bennett, Brooke Harvey, Andy Toombs, James Gillard, and seminal American country singer Patty Griffin. “These guys are some of my favourite musicians and singers, including the backbone of my touring band, so there is a familiarity and intuitive understanding of where this music should go,” says Kasey. Nothing in the recording process sounds forced or laboured; every track sounds fresh, positive, exciting. “When the songs are that fresh, there’s something magical about taking them into the studio and bringing them to life, right then and there.”
All through the creative process, there was a clear and immediate understanding that this material was destined for a Kasey Chambers album. “It’s been nearly five years since I made my own album. I’ve done one with Shane (Rattlin Bones, in 2008), I’ve done one with my dad (children’s album and book The Little Hillbillies, in 2009), and all through that time I hadn’t even thought about a solo record. I wasn’t interested in making one. It just wasn’t there. It wasn’t bothering me; I was happy to let it come out when it wanted to. And once this rush of new songs started, I knew that it would be a new solo album; it had control of me rather than the other way around. I went with the flow, and this is what flowed.”