Kim-Richey-Issue-No26KIM RICHEY

On her latest effort, the acclaimed singer-songwriter highlights harmonies   

Kim Richey has been on the move—Colorado, Boston, Washington, South America, Europe and London, where she spent three years. She returned to Nashville for the third time last summer to make her new album, Thorn in My Heart.

Richey’s first venture to Music City after college included a stint as a cook at the famed Bluebird Café where she glimpsed singer-songwriters performing there. When she returned to the city in the late 1980s, she began writing songs for a roster of Nashville’s finest including Radney Foster, Jim Lauderdale, Brooks & Dunn, Patty Loveless, Terri Clark, Mindy McCready, Lorrie Morgan and Mary Chapin Carpenter. She put down her songwriting pen long enough to sing on albums by Trisha Yearwood, Carpenter, Gretchen Peters, Jason Isbell, Rodney Crowell, Shawn Colvin, Ryan Adams and even William Shatner. She landed a contract with Mercury Records, which released the first of her seven albums in 1995.

Since then, her star power association has extended to producers she’s worked with including Hugh Padgham, John Leventhal, Giles Martin, Richard Bennett and Bill Bottrell. For her new record, Richey returned to Neilson Hubbard, the man behind the boards for her previous effort, 2010’s Wreck Your Wheels. And surprise, surprise—Thorn features no shortage of guest stars: Jason Isbell, Will Kimbough, pedal steel player Carl Broemel of  My Morning Jacket, keyboardist Dan Mitchell, multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone of Wilco, and Trisha Yearwood (with whom Richey co-wrote Yearwood’s hit, “Believe Me Baby [I Lied]”).

“When Neilson and I toured as a trio with Dan Mitchell, there was only so much we could do with the three of us soundwise, so we decided to make our vocals the main element,” Richey explains. “That’s how this record evolved. I wanted to do more harmony singing, and to me that equates with a country or folk sound.

“Neilson and I talked a lot about the instrumentation we wanted,” says the Zanesville, Ohio, native. “And we had all these great musicians in the studio. We’d play a song and say, ‘What do you think, guys? Do we need anything extra on this? Anything you want to add?’ It became a big collaboration. That’s how I love to work. I know there are people who go into the studio and say, ‘Here is what’s going to happen on this song,’ down to the part the guitar player’s going to play. I would rather take people I admire and let them just go ahead and do it.”

She also tapped into a talented pool of co-writers—Hubbard, Mando Saenz, Mike Henderson and Dave Olney among them. “I really enjoy writing with other people,” says Richey, 56. “It’s a social thing for me. I’m often on my own because I’m pretty happy by myself. But I also love collaborating. Part of it’s the discipline, because I have no discipline whatsoever. Left to my own devices, I’ll go to a movie or find myself swayed by some other distraction.”

This time Richie established a self-imposed deadline. “I didn’t have much time to write,” she recalls. “I went out on a limb, and I guess that’s the way I work best. I told my booking agent I would have a record out in time so he could start booking a tour in advance. You really have to have a new record every time you go out. So I said, ‘OK, I’ll have a new album,’ even though I didn’t have the songs, didn’t know who I’d make the record with, didn’t have a label. It all kind of came down to the wire.”

For now, Richey’s happy to again call Nashville home. “I was in a constant state of jet lag there for a while,” she admits. “Now I’m kind of ready to stay put.”

Lee Zimmerman


comment closed

Copyright © 2013 M Music & Musicians Magazine ·