Nashville's loss is Kim Richey's gain. Though she has written chart-topping hits for Radney Foster and Trisha Yearwood and pursued a recording career on the fringes of the country mainstream, her fourth and best album soun... more »ds like a fresh start. It certainly doesn't sound like contemporary country, as the artist and producer Bill Bottrell (who helmed similarly creative breakthroughs by Sheryl Crow and Shelby Lynne) collaborate on a sensually bluesy song cycle that shows a determination to defy categorization, follow its own musical dictates, and find its own audience. The album-opening "Girl in a Car" sounds like it could have been a highlight for Lucinda Williams, while the languid atmospherics of "Fading," "Without You," and "Reel Me In" have a seductive intimacy that is equal parts torch song and lullaby. From the Wurlitzer organ on "The Circus Song" to the bouzouki that lends an Eastern tinge to "This Love" and "Electric Green" (the latter written and sung with Pete Droge), the stripped-down arrangements accent the freshness of the material. --Don McLeese« less
Nashville's loss is Kim Richey's gain. Though she has written chart-topping hits for Radney Foster and Trisha Yearwood and pursued a recording career on the fringes of the country mainstream, her fourth and best album sounds like a fresh start. It certainly doesn't sound like contemporary country, as the artist and producer Bill Bottrell (who helmed similarly creative breakthroughs by Sheryl Crow and Shelby Lynne) collaborate on a sensually bluesy song cycle that shows a determination to defy categorization, follow its own musical dictates, and find its own audience. The album-opening "Girl in a Car" sounds like it could have been a highlight for Lucinda Williams, while the languid atmospherics of "Fading," "Without You," and "Reel Me In" have a seductive intimacy that is equal parts torch song and lullaby. From the Wurlitzer organ on "The Circus Song" to the bouzouki that lends an Eastern tinge to "This Love" and "Electric Green" (the latter written and sung with Pete Droge), the stripped-down arrangements accent the freshness of the material. --Don McLeese
"I have been a Kim Richey fan for years and have been listening to this CD non-stop since I bought it. It is DEFINITELY different from her other three CDs, which is what makes Kim Richey as good (and respected) as she is - she is always reinventing herself and pushing the envelope. "The Circus Song (Can't Let Go)" is great example, with it's bizarre synth work and drum rolls evoke images of trapeeze artists and clowns in the studio all around her.
The songs range from "Me and You", an upbeat romp, to the Celtic-inspired, bass-drum laden "No Judges" and the haunting "Electric Green". "Fading" is a haunting ballad of love lost, Richey's voice is barely above a whisper but so incredible anyway. On "This Love" Richey's voice soars as she sings about a love, almost in a gospel way. The first song, "Girl In a Car" is my favorite though, it is an awesome song about getting away.
Kim Richey defies description and classification, just calling her 'country' is too restricting. But to put it in simple terms she is an artist, and a great one at that. Her music makes you think, takes you on a journey, gives you chills, and makes you smile - even if only for 53 minutes the CD plays."
I AM KIM RICHEY...
Michael G Morris | Mount Vernon, Georgia United States | 10/01/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You really have to give music producer Bill Bottrell credit; he definitely knows what he's doing when it comes to talented female musicians. He worked with Sheryl Crow on her first two (and arguably best albums), and helped ex-bangle Suzanna Hoffs craft an excellent, albeit vastly overlooked self-titled album in the mid 90s (a release well worth seeking out, by the way). Even more striking would be his collaboration with Shelby Lynn in 2000 which resulted in one of the most stunning rock-country hybrids in years, earning Lynn a grammy for Best new artist along the way. Proof enough of his genius, now on to Kim Richey.I've never been much of a Kim Richey fan. I've tried to like her and while I own most of her cds, she never really struck me. Her genius is evident enough, she just never had the edge that I appreciate in other artists in the genre. Artists like Lucinda Williams, Patty Griffin, Kasey Chambers...they all seemed to possess a little something extra that I found lacking in Richey's efforts. Now we have RISE and that all has changedRISE opens with the moody rocker 'Girl In a Car.' It seems like just another alt country gem, but the lyrics are clever and it sets the tone for the entire album: loss, melancholy, loneliness...it's definitely Richey territory. 'A Place Called Home, 'Hard to Say Goodbye,' and 'Good Day Here,' are similar Richey compositions, each contributing to the solid thematic feel of the album.Two of the strongest tracks on the album appear near the middle: 'Fading,' and 'Without You,' are some of the most beautiful tracks this genre has ever seen. Simple, elegaic and moving, this is Richey and Bottrell at their best. Current music, whatever the genre, doesn't get any better than this. With all of this somber melancholy, does Richey still rock? Absolutely! The rollicking 'Me and You,' is a laidback sing-along that manages to incorporate Richey's easy vocals with Bottrell's southern fried rock. Definitely one of the album's highlights. As is the quirky and destined to be overlooked track 'Electric Green.' The only complaint that one might have with Richey's newest effort is that a couple of the tracks seem a little underwhelming if only because the rest of the album is so stunning. If Richey had chosen to follow in Lynn's footsteps with a 10 or 11 track cd, RISE would've been nearly flawless. As it is, one can't complain.What Bottrell and Richey have created is a moody and achingly elegant collection of songs that are very reminiscent of his work with Lynn. Whether this will do for Richey what I AM SHELBY LYNN did for Lynn remains to be seen. There's no justifiable reason it shouldn't."
Kim Richey rises to the top!
Michael G Morris | 10/06/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's been far too long since Kim Richey last graced the world with her artistry. I anxiously awaited the release of Rise, having just about worn out Glimmer, Bitter Sweet, and the eponymous Kim Richey. On first listen, I was a little confused by a style and sound that seemed quite different from her previous work, but still found myself comforted by her voice and lyrics. After repeated listening, I'm loving it!Favorite tracks: A Place Called Home, Good Day Here, This Love, and Without You (which reminds me of k. d. lang's Ingenue CD, for some reason). The whispering intro to Electric Green sounded like a Mary Chapin Carpenter song. I notice different influences every time I listen.13 new songs in all - and they're all good! Do yourself a favor and add this one to your collection. And if you don't already own Glimmer, Bitter Sweet, and Kim Richey, treat yourself to those as well!"
Too many judges here
Michael G Morris | 12/05/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's the language, the word-play, the lyrical content of Kim Richey's songs that make her music so distinctive. She's been backed up on every album by top-notch musicians who have given her songs the musical energy to lift them off the ground, but it's Kim who makes this music happen. There is a tension between her clever and literate lyrics, in which she is always moving toward a brighter future no matter how bitter the past, and her voice, which for all of its warmth and brightness is shaded with a wisp of melancholy. Some of her songs have a musical hook that grabs like velcro; sometimes the touch is more subtle, and you won't get it if you're not listening.Each of her albums are different; together they show a singer-songwriter who is able to put the emphasis on a different syllable of the altcountryfolkpoprock label according to where she is in her personal and artistic development. There's no reason she couldn't be marketed like any other 'superstar'; she has more talent than most of them. So there's some other reason she hasn't attained superstar status, and it most likely has to do with the integrity of her work. The album reviews on this site alone show that many people prefer only one or two of her albums, and those listeners want to see more like THAT one. 'Rise' is unlikely to appeal to those fans who like her debut album only, or who only like 'Bittersweet' or 'Glimmer'. This is an album for those who are willing to allow an artist the opportunity to evolve.'Rise' represents a more subtly nuanced Richey, with arrangements that give the feeling of having been carefully constructed, rather than merely written. Overall, 'Rise' is more introspective, and suggests that Kim is approaching her maturity with the feeling of serenity that comes from lessons learned. With songs like the beautiful 'A Place Called Home', 'Fading', and 'Hard to Say Goodbye', Kim looks longingly back on the past even as she dreams of the future.
I'm lucky enough to live in Austin, the place Kim calls home. Her two most recent performances in town didn't even sell out the small campus venues. However, those of us who attended were treated to two superb shows, both as different from one another as her albums are. Her band was behind her note for note, beat for beat, supporting but never overpowering her. Her performances were filled with so many deft and subtle musical touches that most listeners sat there in slack-jawed wonder at the expression of artistry. When she concluded her first performance with a mesmerizing "Reel Me In", I don't think anyone in the audience had taken a breath for five minutes. Her encore performance a month later in the intimate setting of the Cactus Cafe, backed only by her bassist and percussionist, revealed within a more spare musical framework the richness of meaning in her songs. And her voice just grows on ya... If you can't be entertained by movies unless they're filled with special effects and explosions, you're not gonna be entertained by this album. So don't buy it, and don't bother with her road shows, either. It makes the experience more intimate for the rest of us, and we won't have to listen to your cell-phone ring in the middle of her performance."
A hauntingly beautiful cd
Michael G Morris | 01/04/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the first cd by Kim Richey I have purchased. I have had good luck buying Lost Highway releases in the past and this cd had received good reviews in EW. One song that I have played over and over is "Fading". It brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it. Although I wouldn't really categorize it as a story song, it evokes the most vivid mental pictures of a love affair at its pinnacle and at its end.I think fans of Norah Jones and/or fans of Allison Moorer would like Kim Richey's voice and style."