Kim Richey – Edgeland
Yep Roc – 30 March 2018
Gearing up for a UK tour supporting Gretchen Peters, Edgeland is Kim Richey’s eighth album, a follow-up to her 2013 Thorn In My Heart that finds her working in Nashville with producer Brad Jones and a bunch of seasoned studio hands that include Dan Dugmore, Pat McLaughlin, Chuck Prophet and Robyn Hitchcock. It’s also very much a collaborative affair in terms of the writing, Richey taking only one solo credit with the twilight and starry skies atmospherics of the mellotron and keyboards-based ballad Black Trees.
With Chuck Prophet on guitar, Doug Lancio on resonator and Chris Carmichael providing fiddle, the album opens in punchy form with the chiming train song swagger and circling riffs of The Red Line, presumably a reference to the Boston rapid transit line. The pace is maintained for the done-running, changed my ways themed Chase Wild Horses, co-penned with Al Anderson and McLaughlin, the latter on mandolin and bouzouki.
The first of four Prophet writing collaborations, Leaving Song, a duet with McLaughlin, has a good-time bluesy lope, Dan Cohen handling electric banjo and Pat Sansone bolstering the drive on resonator. Again co-penned with Prophet, the mid-tempo, domestic abuse-themed Pin A Rose also has a bluesy tone to its country groove, although tempered here with instrumentation that includes bouzouki, slide, banjo and electric sitar and has, at times, vague echoes of The Waterboys. I suspect it’s also Prophet who brings the Tom Petty influence in the chiming guitar and tumbling chords of their third co-write, Can’t Let You Go.
A song about getting your shit back together and doing something, High Time, written with Mando Saenz and featuring puttering percussion from Brad Jones with Gareth Dunlop providing harmony as well as the guitar solo bridge, is a gentle train time country chugger. Meanwhile, co-writer Saenz takes the duet role on The Get Together, its dreamy, fluid melody rolling on Dugmore’s pedal steel and Chris Carmichael’s strings with Jones giving it a jazzy tweak on vibraphone.
I Tried chugs pleasantly along without making any waves while Your Dear John, co-written by Jenny Queen, the album’s only female co-writer, is a quietly reflective number that puts a spin on the topic ( “if I don’t read your letter, you can’t make me your dear John”), the melancholia coloured by cello and wistful recorders. The last of the shared credits belongs to Australian songwriter Harry Hookey on Not For Money Or Love, a slow sway unfulfilled dreams/back home from the war number firmly evocative of The Band’s bucolic post-bellum moods with Dugmore’s keening pedal steel augmented by violin and harmonium.
It ends with the last of the Prophet collaborations, duetting and playing both guitar and Casio keyboard on the whimsical, bubbly fingerpicked Whistle On Occasion, its simple acoustic arrangement and affirming positivity leaving things on a mellow upbeat note. Back in 1996 Richey earned a Grammy nomination for writing Trisha Yearwood hit Believe Me Baby (I Lied), it’s about time she had another, this time for her own album.
Pre-Order Edgeland: https://lnk.to/edgeland
Kim Richey will be on tour in the UK supporting Gretchen Peters in May/June.
19 May – Stamford Corn Exchange, Stamford
20 May – The Stables, Milton Keynes
22 May – The Queens Hall, Edinburgh
23 May – The Sage, Gateshead
25 May – Birmingham Town Hall, Birmingham
26 May – The Atkinson, Southport
27 May – RNCM, Manchester
30 May – Leeds City Varieties, Leeds
31 May – The Apex, Bury St Edmunds
02 June – St. George’s Hall, Bristol
03 June – Pavilion Theatre, Worthing
07 June – Mareel Centre Lerwick, Shetland Isles
12 June – St. David’s Hall, Cardiff
13 June – Cadogan Hall, London