THEY say it’s rude to mention a lady’s age...
So let’s just say Kim Richey was old enough to know better 20 years back when she turned her back on a well-respected, reasonably well-paid, secure job as a teacher to pursue life as a full time musician.
Time has shown she made the right choice, though.
For she brought to her new day job a unique combination of bright eyed innocence chasing a dream with a healthy dose of mature reality that most songwriters yearn to earn.
And she put that mix to good use in a career which has had the music world sitting up and taking notice.
Over the years she has released a string of jaw-droppingly good albums and been nominated twice for a Grammy. And her name rubs shoulders with some of country/Americana music’s biggest names.
She’s written two Number 1s and four Top 10 hits in the States, has had her songs recorded by the likes of Trisha Yearwood and James Morrisson, shared vocals on albums by Ryan Adams, Shawn Colvin and Mary Chapin Carpenter and even appeared on a William Shatner record produced by Ben Folds. Also, her music has featured in films and TV and she’s toured the world.
All of this was achieved thanks to a great ear for a lyric and the ability to deliver a song courtesy of a clear, soulful voice.
Kim Richey is the real deal.
Her 1995 self-titled debut album provided her first country hit, Just My Luck, as well as the follow-up Those We Said (which was also covered by Trisha Yearwood). Another song, Let the Sun Fall Down was featured in a Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode, sung over the show’s emotional climax.
Latest album Wreck Your Wheels signals a return to her Americana roots and shows there is no sign of he songwriting star dimming.
To get the right sound she took her touring band back to Nashville. Said Richey: “The core band on this record went out on the road with me for my previous record, Chinese Boxes. They’re friends.
“We had a great time – we recorded all in the same room at the same time, which was very cosy. It’s a small studio.
“We used the front seat of the producer’s Honda pulled up next to the door as an isolation booth for the electric guitar amp.”
From the first bars of title-track opener Wreck Your Wheels, Kim keeps you entranced by a string of stories that really get into your head...and stay there.
The album underscores her reputation as a great a storyteller who weaves emotions and tugs at heartstrings.
The teaching world’s loss was music’s gain.
Kim Richey is at the Rock@Maltby, Wesley Centre, Maltby next Friday. See Catfish Keith there tomorrow.
KIT Holmes adds guitar virtuosity and a sultry warm voice to create great music. She visits the Greystones on Sunday.
CHRIS While and Julie Matthews bring their St Agnes Fountain show to The Venue, Stocksbridge, next Friday, Dec 2. This is a unique concert of Christmas songs, carols and stories which the band only perform during December. Tickets at www.wortleyfolkclub.info
LOCAL folk trio Skyhook will be at the Greystones, Sheffield tonight.
Nether Edge Folk Club, which meets at the Lounge, Montgomery Road presents alt-country/folky quartet Broken Ground this Sunday, supported by Sheffield’s own rising star Kirsty Bromley.