Puremusic interview with
Kim Richey

A lovely person and a committed and bold artist, Kim Richey just seems to improve with every passing year. She's already cleared the country pop hurdle on her own terms and has moved on from Nashville to Austin, and to CA to make her best record to date, on the Caspar headlands of Mendocino with the magical Bill Bottrell. Bottrell, one of the keys to Sheryl Crow's debut smash, seems both able to bring out the absolute best in artists and then capture it on tape. He's the CA version of Daniel Lanois, and much more my cup of tea. He doesn't add to, as much as he extracts, and then works with the concentrate.

And Kim Richey in concentrate form, it boggles the mind. She's got that wide-eyed fearless quality, and a genuine, irresistible personality. In her first couple of releases in Nashville, she set the pace for a kind of Country that Mercury was trying to do, but unfortunately it was a little ahead of its time, or ahead of the demographic. Now Country is more pop, but the pop is so weak that it's like flat Pepsi or bad popcorn.

No matter, Kim wrote two #1's, one for Radney Foster and one for Trisha Yearwood. Richard Bennett produced her eponymous debut and cowriter Angelo her follow through, Bitter Sweet. Her shining, poignant country material was so authentically smart-pop influenced that her pairing with Hugh Padgham (producer of ultimate smart-pop XTC's English Settlement) made inspired sense for Glimmer, which represented another step in her path. But to this writer it's obvious that she now has really found her place and crew for her tremendous gift of song and spirit. It speaks volumes that the cohorts she brought along for musical or emotional insurance were Chuck Prophet and Pete Droge. (See our review of Prophet's latest. And we're trying to get the Droge on the line.) This clan of folks is pure gold, if hip roots pop is what you're after. And it's definitely one of the things I'm after. When the sound that a singer is making makes you want to reach out for her, to hold her, that kind of power requires a deep and soulful delivery. Sheryl Crow certainly never had that effect on me. Check out the clips for yourself, try her own "Fading" or the beautiful single written with Chuck Prophet, "This Love." This woman's got it so deep, she's got it so right, she's just Got it.

She must be doing a lot of things right, because she also seems to get more attractive every year, which is a mighty good trick. My call caught her in the car, making her way home in her new town of Austin. Enjoy the conversation as we did, and pick up this new fantastic record on Lost Highway, Rise.  continue to interview