Anyone familiar with the songs and sweet voice of Kimmie Rhodes will be happy to hear this new album from the Texas songbird. The title suggests both intimacy and a rootsy musical direction. This is true in the fourteen song set, but there is also vulnerability as evinced in a song like Will You, wherein she wonders who will come and visit her when she is in need.
The album is again produced by her son and musical foil Gabriel in Texas’ Sunbird Studios and they are joined by seasoned players like Glen Fukunaga on bass and Tommy Spurlock on steel guitar and Dobro. Gabriel Rhodes brings his usual musical and production dexterity to the proceedings, which in the end means it all turns out in a recognisable Rhodes family style.
Fellow singer/songwriter Johnny Goudie joins Kimmie for two songs; the opener, I Am Falling, which is graced by steel guitar on a song that follows the downward path of the protagonists. The two voices blend together well to spin out this tale of self-destruction, while Having You Around is more uptempo and they sing the words together about a non relationship that has reached a base level of a familiarity that simply breeds content. The songs are all written or co-written by Rhodes, with her customary clarity and humanity. Gary Nicholson co-wrote the positive album closer Yes, a bright and uplifting song that counts collective blessings.
There has always been a certain innocence in Kimmie’s voice, even when the words are dealing with situations that are far from light. Don’t Leave Me Like This is about a lost love or even a much deeper loss. That sense of being left alone, or the fear of such, tends to be theme in many of the songs. The Sky fell Down, with it’s distinctive electric sitar sound, makes that clear with it’s repeated title vocal refrain. However, as with all her music, Rhodes has a positive attitude and outlook at the heart of her songwriting that is underlined by her lightness of touch.
The album is dedicated to the late Cowboy Jack Clement who was an inspiration, as were some of the artists who have previously recorded her songs like Joe Ely and Willie Nelson. This cowgirl seems ready for the next round-up, so saddle up and go along for the ride.