A regular visitor to these shores, Kimmie Rhodes takes to the stage with a radiant smile that lights up this intimate venue. She is joined by her son, Gabriel Rhodes, multi-talented musician, guitar wizard and producer; together with Ruth Trimble, an Irish singer songwriter of great pedigree.
The capacity crowd is very much a loyal fan base and they laugh and applaud Kimmie’s stories between songs and her funny observations on life. So, playing to the proverbial home crowd, Kimmie appears both confident and comfortable in all aspects of the performance. The beautiful layers of guitar and keyboards fuse effortlessly with the vocals, as Kimmie selects songs from her latest Covers recording.
It is somewhat strange to hear so many cover songs in a Kimmie Rhodes set, as she is famed for her own song-writing talent across fifteen recordings; but her individual style is always to the fore as she effortlessly weaves the songs into her own particular vision.
Gabriel Rhodes colours the arrangements with some stunning fret work as he swoops and dives in and out of the rhythm to lift and ease the dynamic in the music. Listening to the songs, I am taken with the talent of Ruth Trimble on bass guitar, keyboards and percussion and the way in which she compliments the arrangements. Kimmie also gives Ruth the opportunity to feature a number of her own songs taken from her debut recording and we are witness to an emerging talent on the Irish music scene, as she sings and plays with a seasoned maturity.
The concert runs into 2 hours with an interval between sets and in addition to songs from Townes van Zandt (White Freight Liner) and Jagger/Richards (Moonlight Mile) we are treated to old favourites such as Hard Promises to Keep, God’s Acre and a beautiful rendition of I Just Drove By.
However it is on the covers of Donovan (Catch the Wind) and Lennon/McCartney (Little Help from my Friends) that we get to the true essence of the gig with Kimmie surrounded by an aura of grace as she invites the ever willing crowd to sing along and enjoy the spiritual experience and purity of a shared live experience.
Always a joy to see an artist at the top of her game and a lesson to so many aspiring musicians to keep it real, keep it true and feel it from the heart.
Review by Paul McGee. Photograph by Sarah Koska from Kimmie Rhodes website