What's an artist to do when writing material for a sophomore album that will very likely be compared with the artist's critically acclaimed debut, one that earned two ARIAs (Australian Grammys)? Just

What's an artist to do when writing material for a sophomore album that will very likely be compared with the artist's critically acclaimed debut, one that earned two ARIAs (Australian Grammys)? Just ask Kasey Chambers, who has created a series of stirring, passionate songs that capture raw emotion and a simultaneous toughness amidst a blend of country, blues, and folk musical influences. Barricades—which features contributions from Lucinda Williams and Matthew Ryan, among others—moves from expressing personal doubts/fears on the gorgeous "Not Pretty Enough" to more biting, rebellious lyrics on the country rocker "Runaway Train." Chambers also reveals the aching vulnerability of relationships on "A Million Tears," a flowing duet with Ryan. Even when she extends into the issue of world hunger on "Ignorance," a hidden track, the words are always genuinely moving.—JP