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Kim Richey

Wreck Your Wheels

(Thirty Tigers; US: 14 Sep 2010; UK: 17 May 2010)

The rich textures of Kim Richey’s voice require careful listening to appreciate. What at first listen may seem somewhat lax and lazy becomes purposely engaging when put in context of her songs. Her self-penned compositions (every song has a co-writer) suggest the same indolence, until one realizes the impression is just a disguise. Richey’s passions run deep and have the luxuriance of soft silk—a fabric stronger than tensile steel. The 11 tracks on her latest CD may seem laid-back, but her concerns are much more exacting. Consider the poppy “Leaving 49”, co-written with Beth Rowley, whose ambiguous topic (who or what exactly is 49 is never clear—Richey herself is 53 years old) and catchy melody contrasts with the resolute purpose of the narrator to find happiness. Or the holiday nature of “When the Circus Came to Town” (co-writen with the late Tim Krekel), whose celebratory nature belies its serious concerns. Richey may be cryptically talking to herself here and on the other tunes, but her search for love and inner strength is universal and artfully expressed. Other co-writers on the album include ex-Jayhawk Mark Olson, folkie Boo Hewerdine, and Americana artist Mando Saenz, but Richey is clearly in charge. Don’t be fooled by her mellow vibe. The disc repeatedly reveals the depth and potency of Richey’s talents.

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Steven Horowitz has a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Iowa, where he continues to teach a three-credit online course on "Rock and Roll in America". He has written for many different popular and academic publications including American Music, Paste and the Icon. Horowitz is a firm believer in Paul Goodman's neofunctional perspective on culture and that Sam Cooke was right, a change is gonna come.


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15 Apr 2013
The 12 new songs do not sound significantly different than her old hits that were covered by country stars, and that’s a good thing because she has always been a skillful songwriter.
9 Jul 2007
These songs would rule the charts in a land where Marshall Crenshaw was king, Aimee Mann queen, and The Beatles never put out another record after Revolver.
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