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Kimmie Rhodes

West Texas Heaven – 1996 (Justice)

Reviewed by Roy Kasten

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CDs by Kimmie Rhodes

Story is Waylon Jennings received a tape of Kimmie Rhodes' music from a friend, fell in love with the songs and called her up for a TNN guitar pull. Now she has a record, sings with Townes Van Zandt, Joe Ely and Willie Nelson (who covered her on "Just One Love") and plays with Jesse Taylor and Jack Clement. Of the 13 songs, only one (the too-sweetly produced "I'm Not An Angel") is less than exquisite. Each delicate tune has a hard kernel of wisdom: "Maybe We'll Just Disappear" (a duet with Waylon) is private and philosophical, while "Git You a Job" is a bass-grooved story of Tin Pan Alley dreams. The recording has a gorgeous, wall-of-acoustic-roots sound, with deft touches of accordion, pedal steel, harmonica and Willie's signature guitar leads. This is an album of concise, spacious love songs: love of land, liberty, music, of distant and close companions, even of a bar in Paris. And Rhodes sings them all with a voice by turns warm, fearful, and beguiled.