Kim Richey

Mercury Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Much of my experience with country-pop has been through the radio and artists like Mary Chapin Carpenter. (She's not country, I know, but I tend to think of Shawn Colvin also when I think of this musical genre.) The music easily walks both sides of the musical fence without strongly committing to either, ending up with a rather interesting blend.

Kim Richey is an artist who could easily be the next Mary Chapin Carpenter in terms of popularity in this genre, and could easily fit onto adult-contemporary radio with her Colvin-like vocal deliveries. Her third album my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Glimmer is proof of this, and is an album that pleases from beginning to end.

Richey has been described as "country" by other journalists and her own record label, but I'll go on the record to dispute this. If anything, Richey's musical attack is rooted deeper in the folk veins than anything else. Just listen to a track like "Hello Old Friend" and hear the way the story unfolds, and you'll understand. Harry Chapin and John Denver used to use their songs in similar manners, and Richey does bring back happy memories of both these artists in comparison.

But there's enough of a pop sensibility in her music to make sure that even staunch country haters will not hesitate in taking a closer listen to Richey's music. "The Way It Never Was" is a perfect example of this, and is my hands-down pick for a future hit single. Of all the tracks on Glimmer, this is the one I found myself constantly going back to.

Other tracks like "Other Side Of Town," "Good At Secrets" and "So It Goes," all tap into this vein as well, proving that Richey is a prime candidate for AOR radio breakthrough - and I hope that the powers that be give her a shot. Glimmer is that strong of an album, and Richey that talented of an artist, that I think she could easily pull it off.

The true test of this album, however, wouldn't come in the halls of the Pierce Memorial Archives. Instead, it would come on the home stereo system of my mother, who loves all sorts of music, and is into artists like Carpenter and Kathy Mattea. (Fact: The woman owns a CD player that holds somewhere around 110 discs.) What surprised me, however, was that she really didn't start taking notice of this album until it hit tracks like "Didn't I" and "Strength In You". The verdict: Positive, though I was surprised it took nearly the whole album for her to stand up and take notice.

Glimmer is an album that, if there is any justice in the world, will be the one that makes Richey a star. Even if it doesn't, she can hold her head up and know that she created an album that sets the worlds of country, pop and AOR music, on their respective ears.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Mercury Records, and is used for informational purposes only.