Sign up for newsletter
 

Richey needn't chase any more

Club Passim, Cambridge, Mass., April 18, 2018

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

The opening lines of Kim Richey's "Chase Wild Horses," one of the best tracks on her excellent new CD, "Edgeland," starts with the lines:
"I don't chase wild horses any more/I'm all done running from the way I was before
Things I've done that I ain't proud of / I can't even stand the sound of
I still hear them knocking at my door / I don't chase wild horses anymore."

Hearing her excellent reading of the song live, one was struck that Richey could well have been referring to her musical past. Now, it's not sure if she was exactly a hell raiser - she doesn't seem to be the type - but 23 years into a recording career that started with a major label (Mercury) and now is on a well-respected indie (Yep Roc), Richey isn't exactly going for the big hit these days.

Richey ought to be well content with that - financial considerations notwithstanding - because musically at least, Richey is in a great place.

She remains a very likable, consistent performer. At 61 (Richey got started on the late side when it came to a recording career), the amiable singer's voice remains a beautiful thing. She just sounds so darn pleasant and comforting, moody at times, breathing an intimacy into the lyrics without overdoing it.

Richey surprisingly started with one of her hits, "Those Words We Said," sounding as good as ever, but one wondered whether she was shooting her wad awfully early.

No worries because four songs in, she introduced us to "Edgeland" with "The Red Line" and "Can't Let You Go." The new material stands up well to older material with "Pine a Rose" and "Leaving Song" particular highlights.

Richey also showed an upbeat personality with a few humorous stories to throw into the mix.

Backing guitarist Jack Ruch and bassist Billy Harvey contributed mightily to give the material more depth. Ruch was a particular standout with his gentle, sometimes sharp, guitar playing, and Richey provided enough space for them.

Richey concluded with two chestnuts, "Every River Runs Dry" and "I'm Alright," providing a perfect bookend to the show. From start to finish, old to new and back again, Richey maintained a steadiness in style and substance. She may not be chasing horses these days, but doing things her own way works just fine.

Virginia native Dean Fields opened up with a pleasant folk-based solo acoustic set.