First Appeared at The Music Box, December 2002, Volume 9, #12
Written by John Metzger
For her fourth album Rise, Kim Richey teamed up with producer Bill Bottrell (Rusted Root, Sheryl Crow) to create the finest outing of her already distinguished career. She’s long been recognized as a talented songwriter, having co-penned hits for both Radney Foster and Trisha Yearwood. But her own pursuits have remained in limbo as she’s struggled to find her niche. Her past efforts have wandered between contemporary country and mainstream pop, and on neither side of the coin has she ever sounded all that comfortable.
Not so with Rise as Bottrell successfully places Richey’s songs into the types of environments in which they can thrive. Taking the finer elements of her previous albums and merging them with bits of rock, folk, and the type of country most of Nashville despises, Richey blooms with a collection of songs that immediately warrants comparisons to both Lucinda Williams’ phenomenal Essence and Tift Merritt’s equally exquisite Bramble Rose. Beginning with the murky atmospherics of Girl in a Car and continuing through the bouncy Cowards in a Brave New World, she leaves no stone unturned musically or lyrically.
Telling tales largely of loss, heartache, and regret, Richey sometimes wallows in sadness and sometimes finds some hope for the future. Without You floats dreamily through its world of ethereal ’60s pop; No Judges begins as bluegrass but quickly shifts gears to become a hypnotic, Eastern groove; and she gets help from Pete Droge to concoct the infectiously laid-back Electric Green. Make no mistake — Richey’s music has never been so alluring, and though her prior albums often left the listener wanting, Rise finds her more than living up to her potential.
Rise is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2002 The Music Box