Video: “Wreck Your Wheels

Kim Richey will be featured at the Blue Rock aLive! Cool Nights 2020 virtual concert series this Thursday, November 12. The series is “for the songs, for the artists, for all of us.” You can buy a Season Pass for only $105—and have a seat in the house by sending in your headshot. They will place it on a seat, so you will literally be sitting in the room.

Blue Rock’s innovation, quality and creativity is evidenced in concerts produced with broadcast quality audio-video from their renowned Texas room—streamed straight to you. Individual tickets can also be purchased for $25:

Photo credit Jeff Fasano

Kim Richey’s career in music is quite unique. She started playing guitar in high school, but didn’t get much stage time until college. After college, she moved around a lot, and even was a cook at the famed Bluebird Café in Nashville. She came onto the music scene in the 1990s as a songwriter with her songs being recorded by Trisha Yearwood, Radney Foster, Brooks & Dunn, The Chicks and Suzy Bogguss.

Richey built a reputation as a singer who could uniquely interpret lyrics and harmonize with the best musicians. She proved she was more than a songwriter and got her first recording contract at the age of 37. Her songs (“Come Around”) have been featured in movies like Kevin Costner’s For the Love of the Game.

Kim Richey’s songs make your heart yearn while it remains hopeful. Each unique turn of phrase and playful beat moves the song while giving pause for thought.

We talked with Kim Richey about her unique approach to songwriting, the joy of interacting with her fans, what continues to inspire her and keep her hopeful, and how her songs are like snapshots of a moment in time in her content life.

Photo credit Jeff Fasano

KIM RICHEY Interview
with M Music & Musicians magazine publisher, Merlin David

How did the idea for “Wreck Your Wheels” come to you?
I wrote that song with Mando Saenz—one of my friends and favorite people to write with. He came over and said “I have an idea for a song.” I said, “What’s that?” He said, “Wreck Your Wheels.” I said, “What does that mean?” And he said, “I don’t know.” (Laughs) So then we had to figure out what it means. We came up with the chorus—and went from there. It’s that way a lot of times with Mando—things just pop into his head. We’ll come up with a phrase or something and we have to figure out what it means. We try to make sense of it. A lot of times you just don’t know where these ideas come from—or where they lead.

Tell us about the incredibly creative video for this song.
We made this great video for the song with a lot of fan participation. We asked people if they’d like to be in the video, and we assigned them a word from the song. Everyone took a photo of the word and put their own spin—their own creativity—on the word. We compiled the video from all the words sent in. When I got the video back—it made me cry. People were so creative. Some of them went to such great lengths to make these photos.

Do you ever see these people?
Someone recently sent me a message saying it is the 10-year anniversary of the video. I still see people at shows that say, “Hey, I was in your video! I was at 1 minute and 23 seconds. You remember me?” (Laughs) And I say, “Yeah. You were great!” When you see the video on YouTube, there’s a woman on the bed trying to buy stuffed monkeys—that’s my friend. She ended up being the random frame picked—for the start of the video.

Tell us the story behind a song you plan to play at Blue Rock’s Cool Nights 2020.
“Hello Old Friend” is about an old friend who I hadn’t spoken with in years—who called me up very late one night—drinking was possibly involved. (Laughs) This song lyric is pretty much how the conversation went between us.

You did what very few artists have done—re-record an album the way you envision it and present it in a new order. Which song are you especially glad you were able to redo on Long Way Back: The Songs of Glimmer.
I’m especially happy with “A Long Way Back.” Dan Mitchell’s beautiful flugel horn on the recording is perfect at capturing the resignation I felt about the unraveling of a relationship and how hard it is to break those ties.

Kim Richey’s songs make your heart yearn while it remains hopeful. Each unique turn of phrase and playful beat moves the song while giving pause for thought.

Who originally inspired you to write songs?
Joni Mitchell was the main inspiration for me, especially when it came to lyrics. She was so good at painting a vivid scene in so few words. “The priest sat in the airport bar. He was wearing his Father’s tie.”  Steve Earle would be a later inspiration for my writing—in a more conversational style. He is also great at packing a lot of imagery into few words. Tom Petty is also up there too.

Do you like co-writing?
It’s so much fun to write with others. I mean, when do you get to sit with a friend for hours and talk about stuff? It’s pretty great. I don’t like the random pro-writer thing where they fix you up with people you don’t know. It just feels like a blind date that is about to go terribly wrong at any moment. I don’t like that. I get really nervous writing with someone for the first time. I do like finding people you know and people you like to write with. I’d much rather write with my friends.

What songwriting tip would you like to offer?
You just have to be aware. It’s like taking photographs. You choose to see things or you blindly stumble along and don’t look for the pictures. When you’re looking, it’s hard to find. Great photographs are all around us. It’s the same with songs. You have to have your antenna up and be aware all the time. Always keep looking for ideas. I was just driving this weekend and I saw what would have been a cool photograph, but I didn’t stop to take it. I felt bad because I know it was a great photograph that I just let slip through my fingers. So I say—make the time at that moment to be ready to write.

What instruments/equipment can you not live without?
I have two guitars I love. Both were made by Gibson: a 1956 J-50 and a 1969 Epiphone Frontier. When writing, I always use some device to record the work in progress—from cassette tape recorder to the short-lived mini disc to now—my phone. I don’t believe for a second that if a lyric or melody is truly good you will remember it.

Which Top 5 Musicians inspired you to become a musician?
Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Tom Petty, Steve Earle, Karla Bonoff.

What are your Top 5 favorite albums of all time?
Tapestry (1971) — Carole King
Miles of Aisles (1974) — Joni Mitchell
Wildflowers (1994) — Tom Petty
Karla Bonoff (1977) — Karla Bonoff
Heart Like a Wheel (1974) — Linda Ronstadt

Tell us a “pinch me” moment when you thought “Wow, this is really happening to me!
I got to sing on a project with Dolly Parton. She is a star, for sure. She radiates charisma and light. When she walked into the studio, it was immediately her party and she joked around and made everyone she spoke with feel special. All this—on top of being an incredibly talented songwriter and singer.

Do you remember the first time your heard your song on the radio?
I remember the first time I didn’t hear my song on the radio. (Laughs) I got picked up by a radio station in New York. There was a country station up there. On my first record, the first single was “Just My Luck.” I was going up to the station to do an interview and they picked me up in a car. I was with one of the DJs and they had this whole thing worked out where they were going to surprise me and play my song while we were in the car. We were driving along, listening to their station and the DJ announced, “And the next song is Kim Richey with ‘Just My Luck’.” Then we hit a tunnel and that was it. (Laughs)

How about other times when your heard your song?
I’ve hear myself at Home Depot when I was getting a key cut. The guy was just starting to cut the key and I said, “Wait, wait, wait. That’s me!” He looked at me as if to say, “Yeah—right.” And he went back to cutting the key. That record, Glimmer, wasn’t even out yet and it was already on Muzak. (Laughs) I’ve also heard myself at gas stations while I’m filling up the car. It’s always weird to hear yourself. One thing that was really weird happened in Nashville. I was driving around and I heard, “Hi, I’m Kim Richey!” I thought, “OK. This is freaking me out. You’re not Kim Richey. I’m Kim Richey—driving in the car.” It was a liner for a local radio station. It was kinda funny.

What is the best advice someone has given you?
I don’t really remember anyone giving me any advice. Rather, I was always given more than enough rope to hang myself—by the record labels and also my first and best publisher Blue Water Music.

What makes Blue Rock unique?
Billy and Dodee are simply amazing people.

How do you remain hopeful in this strange and unique socio-political time?
Things that keep me going: Riding my bike, cooking and baking and sharing the end results with friends, socially-distant meetings with my friends, writing some new songs, taking regular breaks from the news and social media, reading Richard Powers’ The Overstory, getting out in the woods, having and taking the time to connect with friends and family, gardening, being home enough to get to know some of my neighbors and mentoring a few younger songwriters over zoom meet-ups. I’m making the most out of this time.

Where can new fans get more info and stay updated?
Instagram: @kimrichey
Twitter: @kimrichey

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