It has been a number of years since Kim Richey experienced the trappings of a music career backed by a major label, and the ensuing hit records, but she seems perfectly settled in the relaxed environment of playing solo in small venues. The Studio room in Birmingham’s Glee Club provided an intimate setting for Kim to open her current UK tour and over the duration of her hour and a quarter set she delivered an accomplished performance to an audience almost packed to its small capacity.
Studio albums have been a touch thin over the last ten years for Kim but the two opening songs of the evening reminded the audience of her two most recent releases. Both songs were the albums’ title tracks, starting off with ‘Wreck Your Wheels’ and followed by ‘Chinese Boxes’. Despite opening with these relatively recent numbers, Kim tended to delve into her back catalogue for a majority of the songs which was a little disappointing, mainly due to the plethora of excellent tunes on the ‘Wreck Your Wheels’ album. However this was only a minor criticism as there were plenty of quality older songs performed and well received by those present.
Due to it being the first night of the tour and the usual effects of jet lag, especially after a journey from Australia briefly touching down in the States, Kim took a few songs to get into the rhythm. Although by the time old favourites like ‘I’m Alright’ and ‘Come Around’ were sung, any negative effects of the travel were completely shaken off. Probably the best song of the main set was the popular number ‘Those Words We Said’ from her self- titled debut release in 1996. A song covered and performed regularly in the UK by Eve Selis. Many of Kim’s songs were in true singer-song writer tradition interwoven with tales of being a travelling musician. One in particular recounted an entertaining evening playing to a group of cowboy and indian enthusiasts, half way up a mountain in Switzerland.
The evening was brought to a close with her version of the classic Kris Kristofferson song ‘Sunday Morning Coming Down’ preceded by a story of how this choice emanated from the pressure of delivering a country classic at the Grand Ole Opry. To her credit it was a very moving version and, whilst still being on the fringes of the country movement, proved she can easily hold her own in the genre, should she desire.
Having seen Kim previously perform at the Maverick Festival a couple of years ago, it was good to get more exposure to her, even though a few more songs off ‘Wreck Your Wheels’ would have rounded the evening as would have a little less guitar from the venue’s sound system which slightly distorted some of the louder numbers. This was not a problem for the evening’s support act; a singer-song writer from Scotland named Yvonne Lyon. Her mellow folk oriented tunes delivered from a piano and acoustic guitar set the scene for the evening perfectly as well as her confident banter with the audience. This was despite being involved in a road accident on her way down to Birmingham from Scotland that very day. However in a true entertainer’s spirit – the show still went on.