If you've heard of Kim Richey, you're more encyclopedic than I am. I only recently discovered her. I should have heard of her before, though, and you should have too - she's worked with Mary Chapin Carpenter and Trisha Yearwood, and her music was featured on Grey's Anatomy. How could I have missed that? On her new album, Chinese Boxes, she gets help from singer-songwriters Mindy Smith, Katie Herzig, Joan Osborne, and others. The songs, as you might imagine, are written to stick. They probe those recesses of the mind and heart that cling to the debris of past relationships - they stir up all the regret, confusion, acceptance, and hope.
She's made the kind of record you wish Nashville would produce more often.
Take the first two verses of The Absence of Your Company (mp3), softly sung in a rain of gently fingerpicked chords:
If you can say that you don't love me
If you can look me in the eye
And say that you don't love me
I can say goodbye
If you can tell me you won't miss me
And sound convincing when you say
You won't miss me
I can walk away
Or the opening tercet from Something To Say (mp3), a lazy-life stroll among a persistent strum:
Some days I look outside my window
Wonder where the time goes
Why I throw it away
How good do I think she is? Her singing, songwriting, and the consistency and integrity of her album are reminiscent of Sarah Mclachlan and k.d. lang. Real good.
Find treasure in Chinese Boxes.