Album Review: Kim Richey - "Edgeland"

Veteran singer/songwriter returns to charts with dynamic new album via Yep Roc Records.

Kim Richey has always been a bit of a Nashville outsider. Inside enough to write songs for Radney Foster and Trisha Yearwood, but a little too smart and cool (or so it seems) to score much mainstream radio attention. And that’s a shame because she’s such a talented artist. Edgeland is yet one more fine album, filled with memorable songs and strong musical accompaniment.

Richey travels a unique sonic line incorporating a touch of rock and a little folk into her country songs. Edgeland is a mostly acoustic album, filled with plenty of acoustic guitars, mandolins and fiddles. Richey’s singing style is like Mary Chapin Carpenter’s, in that she can throw out smart lyrical lines that might sneak past you the first time around. A good example of this ability takes place during “Pin a Rose” where she sings, “You’re always good for one more chance.” This album also come to terms with aging and slowing down. Richey admits, “I don’t chase wild horses anymore,” for instance, on “Chase Wild Horses.”

While singing over a lovely fiddle-accented song, Richey exhibits keen observational skills on “The Red Line.” Observed details include noticing a fellow traveler that had a little trouble with his razor that morning. She sings about watching the world go by during the song’s chorus, but nothing really gets past this attentive artist.

One can fantasize about what the world would be like if country radio played more Kim Richey songs. But that would be edgy; perhaps like the Edgeland suggested by this album’s title.