Black Music Matters Festival

Kim Richey

Bitter Sweet – 1997 (Mercury)

Reviewed by Brian Wahlert

CDs by Kim Richey

Kim Richey's self-titled debut was the best country album of 1995, soperhaps it was inevitable that the sophomore jinx would hit her. It's notthat this is a bad album - in fact, it's better than 90 percent of whatcomes out of Nashville - but it's just not the masterpiece that her debutwas.

The songs aren't quite as well-written, although certain tunes, like"Fallin'," "Don't Let Me Down Easy" and "Let It Roll," hit just as hard asmuch of her debut. Also, due to a change in producers from Richard Bennettto Richey's sideman Angelo, the instrumental sound is completely different.While the arrangements on her debut were more electric-guitar-driven, thistime they vary from the bouncy banjo and accordion of "I'm Alright" to theacoustic guitar and string quartet of "Why Can't I Say Goodnight."

Richey is an excellent songwriter who is great at creating beautiful melodies, andan outstanding singer who can induce chills by singing her own harmony. This is a great album, too, but get her debut first.