Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz
half-dozen songs into her into her evening of music with ace guitarist/singer Will Kimbrough seated by her side, Kim Richey explained that the idea for her song Chinese Boxes,
came from a James Bond film where the character seems interesting in on the inside, but "when you get to the final box, it turns out the person's not very interesting."
If that could be interpreted as some sort of metaphor for this sit-down affair from the two music veterans, that would be off-base because Kimbrough and Richey equally contributed to an enjoyable, musically diverse palette before a healthy crowd of almost 100 people.
Kimbrough releases albums on his own, records and plays with sometimes outfit Daddy of Nashville and plays as a sideman for Rodney Crowell. Richey has a recording career dating back to 1995, but has enjoyed more success as a songwriter than with her own career.
This marked the final night of a nearly week-long northeastern middle-Atlantic trek. "We try doing it as often as we can together," said Kimbrough in introducing an early song of his Chimayo from his second CD.
It's easy to see why. They have an easy-going style and rapport on stage. The basic game plan was that one would sing typically two songs in a row with the other helping out on backing vocals or harmonies before the other would take over. The sit-down affair worked to Richey's benefit because she broke her right foot about three weeks ago and has a cast on it.
Kimbrough was an expressive singer, leaning more towards a bluesy, soulful feel (Nobody from Nowhere from Daddy's fine summer-time release of their second rootsy disc and Piece of Work, from his 2002 CD "Home Away"). His full-bodied voice gave further expression to the songs.
Richey, on the other hand, has a pretty, emotive voice. She can hold notes, adding a bit of tremolo here and there. Richey stayed away from the songs that gave her some attention, such as her co-write of Nobody Wins with Radney Foster and Trisha Yearwood's hit Believe Me Baby (I Lied). That didn't mean she lacked for quality material at all. She reached back into her catalogue for Every River Runs Dry, sounding as pretty as ever. She also looked forward to what she hopes will be an early 2010 release. The Ohio native played Once In Your Life and a co-write with Kimbrough, Careful How You Go, sounding sweet with soft vocal harmonies about a late night/early morning walk in snowy London (Richey moved there in May from Nashville).
Kimbrough's guitar work was top-notch throughout the 100 minutes, whether singing his own compositions or backing up Richey. He played both acoustic and electric, sometimes on slide, sometimes steely, but never overwhelming the songs.
This was a most appealing night of music where the deeper the artists dug, the more enjoyable the sounds.