Kim Richey & Darden Smith
“[Kim Richey] would rule the charts in a land where Marshall Crenshaw was king, Aimee Mann queen, and the The Beatles never put out another record after Revolver.” Steve Horowitz, popmatters.com
“Richey entices you with sad and unembellished music that reveals an original spirit - and then she ensnares you for keeps by making you consider all the noiseless sensations that no songs can ever contain.” Timothy White, Billboard Magazine
As Duke Ellington said, “There are only two kinds of music: good and bad.” At a time when music is all about labels, it’s refreshing to find an artist who doesn’t easily fit into a box, who is broader than just one category, who is simply “good”. Kim Richey is just such an artist.
Two-time Grammy-nominated Kim is a storyteller; a weaver of emotions and a tugger of heartstrings. Tender, poetic and aching with life’s truths, Kim’s songs transport you to her world, where words paint pictures and melodies touch the soul. And then there’s her voice. Pure, arresting and honest, her voice makes you take notice; Kim has the kind of voice where if emotions were ribbons, they’d be streaming in rainbow colours from your iPod. Her voice gives you goose bumps.
The 15-year musical journey that has led Kim to her latest album, “Wreck Your Wheels” has been a dream run. Aside from her two Grammy nods, she has released five critically acclaimed albums; been listed in the Top 10 Albums of 1999 in US Time Magazine for her album “Glimmer”, and been given 4 stars in Rolling Stone and named Alt-Country Album Of The Year in People Magazine for her album “Rise”. She has written two Number 1s and four Top 10 hits in the USA and singles in the Top 50. She has had her songs recorded by the likes of Trisha Yearwood and James Morrisson among others; sung on albums by Ryan Adams, Shawn Colvin and Mary Chapin Carpenter and even appeared on a William Shatner record produced by Ben Folds. She’s worked with producer legends such as Bill Bottrell (Sheryl Crow, Michael Jackson, Tom Petty) and Hugh Padgham (The Police, XTC, Peter Gabriel, David Bowie) as well as Giles Martin (The Beatles “Love”) and Steve Earle collaborator Richard Bennett, plus she’s had her music featured in films and TV and has toured all over the world. Not bad for a girl from Ohio who was a teacher before realising she wanted to be a musician.
Kim’s sixth album, “Wreck Your Wheels” is a return to her more Americana roots. Heading back to Nashville to record with her touring band, this album was all about getting an organic, real sound: no auto-tune, no studio tricks - just five musicians in a room, playing together. “The core band on this record went out on the road with me for my last record, “Chinese Boxes”, and they are friends,” says Kim. “We had a great time making the record – we recorded all in the same room at the same time, which was very cozy. It’s a small studio. We used the front seat of the producer’s Honda pulled up next to the door as an isolation booth for the electric guitar amp.”
Lyrically driven and beautifully produced, “Wreck Your Wheels” is a record that gets into your head and heart and stays there. So does it matter whether it’s Americana, Alt-country or Pop? We say, forget the labels. Just listen to the music. Decide for yourself.
Darden Smith is an Austin-based singer-songwriter who continually redefines what it means to be a musician. With a thirteen critically acclaimed albums in his 27-year career, Darden has moved beyond the comforts and confines of the music industry, breaking new ground in education, entrepreneurship and publishing.
Recording since 1986 from Austin, to New York and Nashville, from London to Los Angeles, his albums weave together rock, pop, country, folk and Americana influences with the musical roots of his home state of Texas. He has long transcended traditional singer-songwriter boundaries, and the evolving nature of his work since 2000 reflects his consistent creative excellence.
Darden founded The Be An Artist Program nearly a decade ago, and his seminars to encourage students to explore creativity through songwriting have reached more than 15,000 students across the United States and Western Europe. His SongwritingWith collaborations find him teaming with, among others, U.S. soldiers transitioning to civilian life after combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, homeless youth in New Jersey and HIV-affected villagers in Africa. Darden also adapts his programs for corporate retreats and conflict-resolution workshops.
While continuing to expand his SongwritingWith collaborations and tour regularly, Darden is also an artist in residence at the Institute for Creativity and Innovation at Oklahoma State University, where he seeks to share with students the challenges, joys and know-how in succeeding in creative business pursuits.
Darden’s upcoming album, “Love Calling,” was recorded and produced in Nashville during the spring of 2012 and is set for release in late spring 2013.