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.
// Notes from the Road
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