WITH KIM RICHEY - 22 JANUARY 2002
RICHEY - BUNS, BOXERS AND BEAUTY
"Every sad song on my radio sounds like it's custom made
by some devil on my shoulder that keep whispering in my ear."
- Those Words We Said - Kim Richey-Angelo.
long wanted to come to Australia," Richey told Nu Country, "and
it's a pleasure to be able to do it on a tour drawing attention to the songs."
named the Mother Theresa bun which earned its own web site and wrote
songs with a boxer who fought Roberto Duran before swapping his gloves
Kim Richey was also born in an Ohio town named after the great-great-grand
father of western novelist Zane Grey. And the singer, whose father
drowned when she was just two, has penned a bunch of No 1 country
hits and landed her songs in movies diverse as 'Happy Texas' and 'Field
So why is Richey unknown outside the cutting edge of progressive country
music and why is she is coming to this roots music backwater? Well,
Kim Richey is long renowned for taking risks and, like Ebenezer Zane,
she is keen to explore new territory.
Lauderdale, Canadians Fred Eaglesmith and Jason McCoy and Tasmanian refugee
Audrey Auld play Sydney and Tamworth before performing the Corner Hotel,
Richmond, on Sunday January 27.
The quintet, whose songs' success dwarf their own profile in the unlucky
radio country, deserve better than that so Sydney promoter Rob Potts has
put his genitalia on the line to try to redress the balance.
Kimberley Kay Richey's mother Pat was pregnant with her second child when
husband Pete drowned in a swimming accident. The singer was raised in
a coal mining valley near the junction of the Muskingum and Licking Rivers
at Zanesville and Dayton in south east Ohio. It was there she ascended
from singing in church to folk trio, 'Blue Monday,' before a solo career
while studying at Western Kentucky and Ohio University.
A degree in environmental education preceded work as a camp and drug counsellor
in Ohio and Sweden but a musical sojourn in 'Southern Star' with Bill
Lloyd and Randy Goodman spawned her first song. But that wasn't the tune
that launched her career - her entrée was a co-write with Lloyd
on I Saw You Look At Her, cut by Swede Inger Nordstrom & Her Rhinestone
Ironically, her next composition Nobody Wins was a No 1 hit for her co-writer
Radney Foster who found fame with Lloyd in the chart duo Foster &
Lloyd. But it wasn't overnight success for Richey who hit Nashville in
1988 and worked as a waitress, demo singer and writer for five years before
And, like many peers, she endured many of her best songs languishing on
hold for major artists. Believe Me, Baby I Lied - penned with Angelo Petragilia
(producer of her second solo album Bitter Sweet) - was one of those. It
was on hold for a small eternity for a new RCA band before Georgian superstar
Trisha Yearwood rescued the song and singer by taking it to No 1. "I
can't even remember the name of the band," Richey confessed but she
had Yearwood to thank for the song's earnings. "I wanted to record
it. Anyway they went through a couple of producers and I went to my publisher
and got it back."
But in those quirks of fate the singer was approached at a Gillian Welch
gig to give the song to Trisha and belatedly agreed. Richey cut her debut
CD in 1995 with producer Richard Bennett who did his time in the beer
and wine mines as a guitarist with artists diverse as Neil Diamond and
Although she won airplay for song such as 'Those Words We Said' and 'Just
My Luck' (both penned with Angelo), and three co-writes with Tia Sellers
- 'That's Exactly What I Mean,' 'Just Like The Moon' and 'From Where I
Stand' - she withered on the sales vine.
Bennett was on the road with Mark Knopfler in 1997 so Angelo produced
her second disc 'Bitter Sweet.' Although the disc stalled on radio it
highlighted 'Every River' - (a co-write with Angelo and Tom Littlefield),
cut by Brooks & Dunn on their recent album 'Steers And Stripes.'
It also included 'I Know' - penned with Rosanne Cash's new partner John
Leventhal - and 'Fallin' with John Crooke of the band Jolene. Richey won
wide airplay here on Nu Country FM for those songs and a duet with Crooke
on their tune 'I Read What You Wrote Today'. But it was a chance teaming
with former boxer Paul Thorn in France that produced intro song 'Can't
Love Them All' for her third album, 'Glimmer' in 1999.
"I met Paul at this writers workshop in France," says Richey
who also shared credits with Maria Sharp for 'Good At Secrets' on a disc
produced by Hugh Padgham in London and New York.
Thorn, a boxer who shared his birth place of Tupelo. Mississippi, with
Elvis and Tammy Wynette, lasted seven rounds in a 1987 bout in Atlantic
City with world champ Roberto Duran who was eulogised in song by Chris
Gaffney and Tom Russell. That fight was captured in 'I'd Rather Be A Hammer
Than A Nail' - the title track of an ill-fated Thorn album on A &
'Can't Love Them All' was more subdued than Thorn's '800 LB Jesus,' cut
by Sawyer Brown, and 'Burn Down The Trailer Park' - a recent single by
Billy Ray Cyrus. Richey begins recording her fourth album in San Francisco
on February 11 with producer Bill Bottrell who helped Shelby Lynne re-invent
herself after five country albums.
Although she penned hits with Tim Krekel, George Ducas and Mary Chapin
Carpenter she finds few will travel the 40 miles to her retreat on five
acres near Nashville. "I have to travel into town to them for writing,"
And it was there - at the Bongo Java coffee house - that she was asked
to name the bun that has been immortalised with its own web site. 'They
had this bun and didn't know what to call it so they asked me," Kim
revealed, "I said it looks like Mother Theresa to me. Originally
it was a joke but it turned out to be huge. The bun was on CNN, it had
its own web site and was on TV, in all the papers. It was crazy."
But the joke became a bun fight when Mother Theresa's lawyers took legal
action after the owners began making dough out of tee shirts. "It
became the nun bun after that and is encased in an old wood and glass
display case," says Richey who is hoping her songs will earn her
framed fame and fortune at home and here in the unlucky radio country.
Richey, Lauderdale, Eaglesmith, McCoy and Audrey Auld perform at the Corner
Hotel in Richmond, Victoria, on Sunday January 27.
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