Kim Richey “Every New Beginning”

Yep Roc, 2024

Songs with a twist from a singer-songwriter at the top of her game.

Kim Richey’s songwriting and vocals have been appreciated by and influenced a host of other artists, including Brandi Carlile, Trisha Yearwood, Jason Isbell, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Patty Loveless, and Chuck Prophet to name only a few, and she is a renowned serial songwriting collaborator. Her new album ‘Every New Beginning’ is her first album of new songs since 2018’s ‘Edgeland’ and her first new recording since 2020’s ‘A Long Way Back: The Songs of Glimmer’. The ten songs were written, or co-written, by Kim Richey over several years, and include her first songs written with her East Nashville neighbour Aaron Lee Tasjan. While the album title hints at a new phase of her career, Kim Richey’s love of mixing a sense of darkness and humour is unimpaired. Kim Richey renewed her relationship with producer Doug Lancio, of John Hiatt, Nancy Griffith and Patty Griffin fame, and recorded with a core band that included Lancio with Neilson Hubbard, long-time collaborator Dan Mitchell, and Lex Price. Guests include Sav Bulst and Katie Larson plus collaborators Aaron Lee Tasjan and Mando Saenz.

The opening track ‘Chapel Avenue’ is an evocative and beautifully nostalgic look at childhood, but there is a sting in its tail when Kim Richey sings about what has been lost since that golden time. Leaving home and the familiar is explored on ‘Leaving Ohio’ which also gives listeners a glimpse of Richey’s pop credentials. Richey seems to enjoy wallowing in sadness with the help of Aaron Lee Tasjan on ‘A Way Around’ as favourite records add to the sense of being overwhelmed by loneliness, but the tempo is medium and anything but dirge-like. One of the record’s highlights is ‘Joy Rider’ which is a celebration of determination and single-mindedness. It is inspired by seeing a kid regularly riding a mini motorbike around Richey’s neighbourhood during the pandemic, and the song perfectly captures the spirit of rebellion and movement. It is also the first collaboration with Aaron Lee Tasjan and is clear evidence of the potential of that partnership.

Another standout track is ‘Floating On The Surface’  which is a demo recorded with co-writer Roger Nichols that couldn’t be improved on during the main recording session. It places Kim Richey’s vocal talents front and centre and shines a light on her little-known percussive skills. ‘The World Is Flat’ is almost chilling in its description of the breakup of a relationship with everyday plain language used to great effect. Richey is in a more wistful mood on the acoustic ‘Take The Cake’. There is a strong bluegrass sound to ‘Come Back To Me’, but Kim Richey mixes it up with some pop influences as well. The pop influence is there on ‘Feel This Way’ as well, but this time there is a country soul feel with the piano and B3 organ to the fore, and there is some grit in Richey’s vocals. The closing track, ‘Moment In The Sun’ is another feature for Kim Richey’s vocals, and it is clear that she can sing any genre and still sound convincing as this song would be quite at home on any mainstream playlist.

This may be Kim Richey’s tenth album, and she may be at the wrong end of a thirty-year career, she may also have had to face the new realities of the music business when she made ‘Every New Beginning’ but it is one of the best examples of her vocal and songwriting skills with its mix of genres and styles. The new-found working relationship with Aaron Lee Tasjan shows that Kim Richey’s songwriting skills are undimmed even at this stage of her long career.  ‘Every New Beginning’ is not only a highlight of her career but also a perfect introduction to an artist who deserves to have more recognition from the listening public rather than just that of her fellow artists and songwriters.


About Martin Johnson 406 Articles
I've been a music obsessive for more years than I care to admit to. Part of my enjoyment from music comes from discovering new sounds and artists while continuing to explore the roots of American 20th century music that has impacted the whole of world culture.
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