Dreams of Flying
Lubbockite Kimmie Rhodes rallies an all-star cast of musicians around her for Dreams of Flying, an album following swiftly in the wake of the Christmas album released late last year. Rhodes, widely considered one of America’s best- kept musical secrets, will be hitting UK shores in support of the release for a series of dates in May. If Dreams is anything to go by, the tour should be an unmissable affair.
The album itself ranges broadly in terms of style and indeed genre, but is led throughout by the sweet, breathy innocence and fragility of Rhodes’ vocal; a marvellous, dextrous instrument that haunts the listener, at times recalling a harder-edged Emmylou. Her son, virtuoso multi-instrumentalist Gabriel Rhodes, excels behind the console and brings a whole host of fine musicianship to the fore.
Things kick of with the big, friendly, radio-by-numbers tones of the title track. Driven by hypnotic guitar arpeggios, the chorus is unavoidably memorable and will no doubt find itself tattooed upon the brains of anyone who encounters it. “Back Again” then shifts pace and mood and see Rhodes sounding a little Lucinda Williams-esque on a stripped and extremely moving arrangement.
Other highlights include the wonderfully cool “Like Love to Me”, which could grace so many moments on so many movie soundtracks it’s difficult to know where to begin. The excellent saxophones and soulful feel make this a winner from the start. The same can be said of the haunting version of Donovan’s “Catch the Wind”, upon which Rhodes duets with none other than Americana legend Joe Ely.
The slick, soul-funk pop of “Luh Luh Love” seems perhaps a tad incongruous with the rest of proceedings. While it’s doubtless engaging, it steers a course far more towards the commercial jugular than the rest of the material on offer. A track like this by no means signifies a musical identity crisis, but it is worth noting that where the artist truly shines is on the relaxed, natural numbers like the gorgeous “One By One”, replete with resonant clarinet.
While it may not sparkle all the way through, the moments when it does vastly outweigh those when it doesn’t. Its fascinating, atmospheric closer, “Start Saying Goodbye”, is a perfect, late night barroom piano lament. There are stories aplenty on offer here and a real sense of character glows throughout. Well worth a listen.
UK Release date: March 21
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