by Jeff Niesel
The title track that opens this collaboration between the Australian husband-and-wife duo is striking. With its reference to "dragging a bag of stone," "Rattlin' Bones" sounds like a country riposte to Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain." In fact, Chambers and Nicholson often come off as a rootsy Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, trading vocals on "Monkey on a Wire" and "Jackson Hole." But more often, they're just interested in writing beautiful ballads, the same kind Chambers has been creating for years on her own excellent solo output.
The gentle "Once in a While" sounds like something Lyle Lovett might have written, and the bittersweet "Sweetest Waste of Time" benefits from a nice bit of lap steel. With the exception of its moody title track, Rattlin' Bones isn't going to knock your proverbial socks off. But it has a naturalness that ensures it gets better with each listen. Stick around for the hidden track, a shout-out of sorts to the seminal Americana band Uncle Tupelo.