Review: Richey 'Glimmer'-ing
August 3, 1999
By Mary Jo DiLonardo
(CNN) -- Kim Richey has an impressive reputation in Nashville.
She's a highly regarded songwriter, best known for her No. 1 hits "Nobody Wins" and "Believe Me Baby (I Lied)," recorded respectively by Radney Foster (1992) and Trisha Yearwood (1996). "Believe Me Baby" earned a Grammy nomination.
But the transition from songwriter to solo artist has been a commercially difficult one for the Ohio-born Richey. With a voice that's been referred to as a cross between Melissa Etheridge's and Nancy Griffith's, Richey's sound is more alternative rock or pop than straightforward country.
Richey's third album, "Glimmer" is as noncommercial as her first two outings, peppered with folk and rock, a little New Age and a lot of pop. Though it sports a country label, the disc is much more reminiscent of Sarah McLachlan or Shawn Colvin than Reba McEntire or Faith Hill.
That said, it's a good record, if somewhat low-key.
'Good at Secrets'
The highlights, by far, are Richey's moving lyrics. There are no fluffy ballads or catchy anthems, just deep songs about relationship and life. Richey, who admits to taking up songwriting as something of a lark, is quite the lyricist. She can capture raw emotions and hurt in simple, well-turned phrases.
In "So It Goes," for example, Richey sings, "I made some good friends and I made mistakes / Lost my religion and I found my faith / I tried to walk down every path I chose / So it goes."
The harmonies -- most performed by Richey herself -- are nearly impeccable. The smooth layers of vocals and lush blends of sound offer rich accompaniment to her emotional lead.
Richey knows her way around chords. In addition to being a hot commodity as a songwriter, she's a much-courted backup singer. She's provided harmonic vocals for McEntire and Yearwood, as well as for Vince Gill, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Patty Loveless.
The one downside to the release may be its stubbornly somber tone. Most of the songs are melancholy and haunting. There's little frivolity or upbeat quirkiness here.
The disc's first single, "Come Around," is a smoldering ballad about an old flame that won't die. It's likely to make its way into soft-rock radio play. Which is probably OK with Richey, who cites influences as diverse as Joni Mitchell and Jackson Browne.
This album is unlikely to be Richey's breakthrough ticket to the top of the charts, but it will no doubt win critical acclaim and raves from her hardcore fans.
In "Can't Lose Them All," the CD's first song, Richey sings: "But every time I get shot down / I justify the risk / Because I come a little closer / To a hit with every miss."
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