Kim Richey entranced a packed and seated audience at the Beachland Ballroom Saturday night with a set that's hard to describe without fear of evoking images of lesser music.
She's a singer-songwriter roaming between Americana, country, and mellow rock— all highly tread musical forms lately, often to great effect but also too frequently susceptible to posturing or saccharine over-sentimentality.
Luckily, from the moment the charmingly unassuming Richey walked onstage it was clear we were going to be spared any nonsense. Her obvious talent is matched by her tasteful restraint.
Armed with just an acoustic guitar, a keyboardist, and a one-man rhythm section, she delivered rousing, full-bodied performances of a diverse but clearly related batch of songs.
Highlights included the dreamy midnight winter walk travelogue "Careful How You Go" and the regretful but still upbeat "Wreck Your Wheels," the title track from her new album.
Another show-stopper was Richey's sultry, jazzy late-show take on 2002's "Reel Me In," for which the already spare drum kit was covered in what looked like a pile of moving blankets, giving the percussion a haunting, heartbeat sound that perfectly conveyed what was at stake in the song's lyrics.
When it all ended too soon, Richey was rewarded with one of the more legitimate and seemingly unplanned encore callbacks in recent memory, politely interrupting the Beachland's farewell instructions with a lovely solo acoustic number. —Matthew Wilkening
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