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It's been three long years since Kim Richey's lush pop gem, Glimmer, and that's far too long for so distinctive a voice to be stilled. Rise easily makes up for lost time. Informed tangentially by country, Rise is an album of art songs that portray a psyche battered by romantic disappointments yet receptive to the idea of a fresh start. Whereas Glimmer brought producer Hugh Padgham's pop brilliance to bear on a set of folksy songs, Rise -- produced by Bill Botrell, who delivered Shelby Lynne's masterpiece I Am Shelby Lynne -- boasts the immediacy and intimacy of a home recording. Bottrell's sparse, low-key production -- a synthesizer burble here, a subtle keyboards wash there, small combo ensemble conversations fading in and out -- allows Richey plenty of room to be as reportorial or as elliptical as her memoir-like songs demand. The mood is appropriate: Whatever demons Richey was fighting in her hard driving pre-Glimmer music have now given way to a tantalizing ennui, suggesting she's arrived at place where if the highs aren't all that high anymore, neither are the lows so catastrophic either. The pungent electric guitar lines snaking through "Me and You" underscore the singer's determination to make a relationship work, but Richey, no longer wild-eyed about love, surveys the landscape and announces in cool tones, "We got blame enough for two." And rarely has an uncoupling been described in a tone as dreamy and seductive as Richey's in the airy, haunting "Fading." Easy interpretations aren't the point here, though, and that's what makes Rise a hard habit to break.
Performance CreditsKim Richey Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Background Vocals,Hand Clapping
Chuck Prophet Acoustic Guitar,Bouzouki,Percussion,Electric Guitar
Roger Fritz Piano,Electric Guitar
Pete Droge Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Slide Guitar
Bill Bottrell Acoustic Guitar,Banjo,Bouzouki,Harmonica,Piano,Pedal Steel Guitar,Drums,Electric Guitar,Rhythm Guitar,Harmonium,Keyboards,Hammond Organ,Background Vocals,Melodica,farfisa organ,Wurlitzer,Mini Moog
Birdie Bass,Percussion,Piano,Noise,Vibraslap,Hand Clapping,Washtub Bass
Technical CreditsBill Bottrell Producer,Engineer,String Samples
Frank Callari Artist Development
Karen Naff Art Direction