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Carry the Light

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Album Review

Kelly Richey made an unexpected detour into instrumental music on her 2006 studio effort, Speechless, but her fans knew that Speechless was the exception instead of the rule and that instrumental music would not become her primary direction. Carry the Light is the singer/guitarist's first vocal-oriented studio album since 2001's Sending Me Angels, although she came out with vocal-oriented live albums in 2007 (Live at the Thirsty Ear) and 2003 (Live...As It Should Be). Why so many live albums? Richey, obviously, is someone who lives for the stage. But that doesn't mean that she cannot shine in the studio as well, and Richey is in very good form on Carry the Light. There are no covers at all on this 2008 release; Richey co-wrote all of the material, and that material owes as much to rock and soul as it does to the blues — which shouldn't come as a surprise to her longtime followers. Richey has never been a blues purist by any stretch of the imagination, but there is certainly an abundance of blues feeling on these songs — many of which have very reflective lyrics. Richey is in a highly contemplative mood on tracks like "Jericho Road," "Leave the Blues Behind," "Carry the Light," and "When All Is Said and Done." And even though she gets in some memorable guitar solos, Carry the Light is a very lyrics-driven album above all else — which is certainly a big departure from the instrumental Speechless. As far as Richey's vocal-oriented studio albums go, Carry the Light isn't quite as essential as Sending Me Angels. But it's still an engaging and respectable demonstration of the Cincinnati resident's skills as a vocalist, songwriter, and guitarist.


Born: Lexington, KY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Blues rocker Kelly Richey was born in Lexington, KY — chiefly inspired by Stevie Ray Vaughan, she honed her guitar skills throughout her formative years, typically practicing upwards of 12 hours a day. Assembling a backing unit comprised of bassist Terry Williamson and drummer Eric Mayleben, Richey opened for the likes of James Brown, Edgar Winter and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown prior to releasing her 1997 debut Eyes...
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Carry the Light, Kelly Richey
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