Kimmie Rhodes “Dreams Of Flying”

With 14 album releases under her belt since 1981, Lubbock, Texas born Rhodes has steadily carved a reputation as a solid songwriter and a vocal foil to numerous country stars. These include Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings and even Townes Van Zandt. Despite this she has never achieved the popularity of peers such as Emmylou, Nancy Griffith or Lucinda Williams. Plowing on, her latest release Dreams of Flying is a firm reminder of her songwriting and performing qualities.
Recorded in Austin and featuring a stellar band (Charlie sexton, John Gardner, Mike Thompson and John Mills, check them out) and produced by her son Gabriel Rhodes who adds some fine guitar touches the album sounds wonderful with Rhodes’ tender voice ably supported by some sumptuous playing. This is immediately evident on the opening title song which has a dreamlike quality similar to the otherworld inhabited by David Lynch’s ethereal soundtracks. Rhodes glides through Back Again with a quiet majesty while the band inhabit an ambient space that Emmylou Harris used to great effect on Wrecking Ball that wraps itself around the listener like a warm blanket. Like Love To Me has a touch of Van Morrison’s Caledonia soul to it with muted horns adding the honey. One By One is an almost unbearingly poignant song while New Way Through is an almost perfect song. Rippling mandolin and a wheezy keyboard sounding like an accordion support Rhodes who does indeed sing like an angel here as she uses clouds as a metaphor for her state of mind. With a cover of Donovan’s Catch The Wind, performed as a duet with Joe Ely that transforms the song into another elegiac rhapsody the overall feel of the album is of lost opportunities delivered in a heart melting style.
This might be Rhodes’ most fully realised album and there is an opportunity to hear and see her at the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow when she appears in May.

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