April 1, 2013 by Jay Minkin
The Ohio thread continues in this edition of liner notes as Kim Richey, the sweetheart of Zanesville and Kettering, will be releasing a wonderful new album titled Thorn In My Heart on April 16th. I first heard about Kim from magazine publisher Wayne Green when he picked her debut record number one in his CD Review magazine back in 1995. He chose wisely as the disc included a chock full of gems like “Those Words We Say”, “Here I Go Again”, “That’s Exactly What I Mean”, “Just Like The Moon”, “Can’t Find The Words”, “That’s A Lie”, and “Echos of Love” that still ranks as one of the best country-rock albums in my personal collection. Back then, Americana was still somewhat of a foreign term as Richey was part of the new singer/songwriter group of artists that were hard to catalog due to their crossover audience appeal. She later had success with Rise in 2002 and received some major radio play with “Girl in a Car”, “The Circus Song (Can’t Let Go)” and “A Place Called Home”. Now calling the Yep Rock label her home, Richey returned to her country roots with the dozen songs she recorded for the new album produced by Nielson Hubbard.
“The first song we wrote that I knew was going on the record was ‘Thorn In My Heart,’” Richey says. “After Neilson and I wrote that, I had a good feeling that the rest would fall into place. We went from me thinking that I’d have to scramble to come up with songs to having more than enough and recording extra tracks. I went back though my songs and found a batch that had never been recorded; they hadn’t fit with whatever record I was making at the time, or were ‘too country,’ or I had just overlooked them.” Richey also started with her tour partners’ guitarist Hubbard and keyboard player Dan Mitchell who blend beautiful harmony throughout the tracks. The next layer included multi-instrumentalist Will Kimbrough and electric guitarist Kris Donegan along with a rhythm section of Michael Rinne on bass and Evan Hutchings on drums. Other musicians lending a hand included pedal steel player Carl Broemel from My Morning Jacket, multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone from Wilco, and guitarist Thomm Jutz who co-wrote songs “Angel’s Share”, “I’m Going Down”, and “Everything’s Gonna Be Good”. Richey had contributed songs and vocals to Trisha Yearwood over the years, and finally the country legend returns the favor singing on the lead single “Come On” and also joins rising star Jason Isbell on a nice duet titled “Breakaway Speed”.
Recorded at Hubbard’s Mr. Lemon’s Studio, the title track about people you love painfully dearly opens the record with beautiful fills from Broemel. “London Town” references the three years Richey spent abroad before returning to Nashville. The haunting “I Will Wait” tells a tale of a woman waiting for her beau whom never shows. The olde-tyme traditional country ballad “No Means Yes” has some beautiful piano and guitar work accompanying Richey’s vocals. The gritty gospel number “Take Me To The Other Side” offers some nice mandolin work from Kimbrough that just happens to have been co-written with former SteelDrivers mandolin virtuoso Mike Henderson (who also assisted on “Carry On”). Richey concludes that “I think a lot of this record is about not being able to settle down, and looking for something or leaving someplace.”
Kim Richey will be touring the US through April before heading to the UK for a series of shows in May. The new songs from Thorn In My Heart will be a welcomed addition to her catalog of fan favorites, so make it a point to pick up the new record and catch her performance if the tour bus passes through your town.