I discovered Kim Richards‘ debut album purely by chance when Mike Vass mentioned it on his Facebook page. Mike is the co-producer of this fine album and I’m thankful to the Celtic gods who obviously helped me find it 😉
The songs and the production remind me of some other brilliant contemporary Scottish and Irish female singer-songwriters who bridge the genres of pop and folk: Claire Hastings, Grainne Holland, Emily Smith and Hannah Rarity are the first to come to mind so Kim is in a very fine company indeed!
And that’s not to take anything away from her own personality and style. For a debut, this is amazingly ready and assured. She mentions on her web site and Bandcamp page that the songs have been developed in her own good time over a few years, and that really is easy to believe. The overall atmosphere is delicate but strong and her delivery so intimate and… human, for want of a better word, focused and communicating at once.
I also like the lyrics. Take Nothing To Show For It All, for example: it’s not necessarily Bob Dylan but she’s got the knack for painting scenes and images with choice wordings and phrases – in other words, she’s a natural storyteller, a talent I always highly appreciate.
The production is also very good. The album has been done with minimum personnel, using digital tools, including multi-tracked vocals,å very skilfully all along. I have no idea how much the arrangements are her own and what input Mike Vass may have had but they are spot on. Take The Ballade of Autumn: it starts with a simple but catchy, almost Bacharach/Carpenters style piano hook, continues in a lovely swaying 6/8 melody and adds an atmospheric whistle/fiddle theme in the closing section. This is great musical thinking that gives a valuable extra dimension to the tunes throughout the album.
In all, a beautiful, shimmering collection that never feels flat or extended even when there are zero fast tempo, party down tracks.
A personal note… There’s also a 40 second track called Shore that is just the sound of the sea at Ullapool Beach – a place I’ll be visiting with my wife next month after the HebCelt Festival. I’m already looking forward to it because when music this beautiful comes from Ullapool, there’s all the more reason for us to see the place for ourselves 😊
Leaves That Fly is available on Kim’s Bandcamp site and other music stores and things that stream.