It’s so fitting this is the first song to appear in the music library project from Kasey Chambers because it’s the first song I ever heard from this outstanding Australian country music artist. I remember when, where and what I was doing when I first-heard this song. It was a hot summer day back in 2002 and I was driving my car through Crib Point on my way to Hastings in South East Victoria, Australia and I turned on the ABC radio (which always hosted great non-commercial music like the Go-Betweens etc) and I heard….
Am I not pretty enough
Is my heart too broken
Do I cry too much
Am I too outspoken
Don’t I make you laugh
Should I try it harder
Why do you see right through me
It was love at first hearing. It really was. The immediacy to which this song floored me I’ll never forget. I think that same day I picked up her album ‘Barricades and Brickwalls‘ which remains one of my top 10 favourite Australian albums.
Am I Not Pretty Enough was released as the album’s third single. What’s so fricken cool about this song is she wrote it to protest the commercial radio’s reluctance to play her stuff. Ironically it would be her big commercial breakthrough. According to wikipedia: The song “Not Pretty Enough” reached number-one on the Australian ARIA charts, going double platinum, and Chambers became the first musical act in Australian history to have an album and single sit at the top of the charts at the same time. In 2017, the song was selected for preservation in the National Film and Sound Archive’s Sounds of Australia collection. The album did not reach quite the same audience in the United States, not quite hitting the Billboard Hot 100.
Since there is plenty from Kasey to come in this project, I’ll provide more information and background as we progress through her song catalogue. So let this just be a small taste of things…