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Kim Richey: The Collection

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Album Review

When Kim Richey's self-titled debut disc arrived in 1995 to critical acclaim, the public, along with country radio, largely ignored the singer/songwriter. Perhaps her thoughtful lyrics and more contemporary folk sound were too organic when compared to the glossy country-pop of the time. Perhaps her beautifully rounded voice was not as forceful or demanding as the leading country divas. Whatever the case, hardly anyone noticed this sparkling gem among the hayseeds, and only those who took the time to seek her out were rewarded with a musical treasure. Seven years later she was still flying well below the radar when her masterwork, Rise, arrived and redefined her sound and direction. This time people began to take notice, and although sales were still low, Richey garnered a new set of fans who became entranced by her exceptional songwriting. Although Rise was her most accomplished and focused work, there are brilliant songs from previous albums that are among her best and are waiting to be rediscovered. The Collection is a fine sampling of these songs and is a perfect place to begin for anyone who is just now discovering Richey's music. Taken from her debut disc, the quiet rhythms and delicate arrangement of "Can't Find the Words" perfectly capture the essence of Richey's music, while "Those Words We Said" is the hit that never was as a chugging organ drives the song's aching melody. The lazy pop of "I Know," from Bitter Sweet, also missed on radio, but that album's true highlight is "Straight as the Crow Flies," one of Richey's sweetest and most heartfelt songs. The two selections from Glimmer, her glossy misstep produced by Hugh Padgham (the Police, Genesis), weigh down the middle of the disc, but her four songs from Rise, including the tender "A Place Called Home," showcase an artist who is still developing, growing, and has so much more to offer. Also included is an unreleased studio track titled "Break You Down," along with a live version of Rise's "Electric Green," featuring Pete Droge. While both of these are satisfying additions to her catalog, neither is essential and could have easily been replaced by more deserving songs like the jubilant "Here I Go Again" from the debut album. Regardless, The Collection is a first-rate introduction to an artist whose musical gifts have been ignored for far too long.

Customer Reviews

Richey is the definition of Crystalline

Clear and sparkling. If Richey's voice does not send tingles down your spine then you are comatose.


Kim Richey is certainly on the best artists I've run across within easily the last 10 years, and it is surprising that she isn't more widely known in the folk/country music world. She has a rich voice that has that indefinable quality that I always find gratifying. It as though she invests a large part of herself in her singing by just letting go. You call that honesty. You can call it "soulful" (though I personally find that term distasteful). Whatever you call it, I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys folk music and who are partial to percussion-based melodies.

Genius Singer/Songwriter

I bought this album about 10 years ago after hearing a small sample on the radio while vacationing in Vegas. For months I'd asked around to know if any of my friends knew the song or artist - all I remembered were the chorus "those words we said". I first bought the cover by Trisha Yearwood but it just wasn't the same until i finally realized where the original song came from - Kim Richey. I've purchesed her debut album more than once after having to replace it for giving it away (including to an ex girlfriend and another friend who believed she was psychic - but besides the point). I own thousands of albums at this point and Kim Richey's debut stands as one of my all time favorites among many classics in my collection. Kim Richey's is not your average pop star but certainly a musical genius. Unfortunately Musical genius doesn't always sell albums. Her music is intelligent and compelling. This collection is sure to make you an instant fan.


Born: December 1, 1956 in Dayton, OH

Genre: Country

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Ohio might not seem like a hotbed of music, but when you have an aunt who owns a record shop, you've certainly got a leg up. That's how Kim Richey got hooked on what would become her chosen path -- digging through bins of 45s and listening to everything she could, from Janis Joplin to the Lovin' Spoonful. She started playing guitar in high school, but didn't rack up much stage time until college. That was when she started a band and sang a lot of harmony. After college, she did a lot of moving, to...
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