An evening with Kimmie Rhodes is always going to consist of a selection of songs and a selection of stories that will shamelessly namedrop figures in country music past and present, and why not she was there and has met most of them!! Tonight however was a different sort of show to highlight the release of book "Radio Dreams", which comes with the byline "The Story Of An Outlaw DJ and a Cosmic Showgirl" as it is in effect a book duet detailing the life of Kimmie and her late husband Joe Gracey. The evening was curated by Bob Harris who tonight with his questions would provide a framework for the evening for the songs and stories.
The evening commenced with a short set by Robert Vincent who is fast becoming one of our favourite UK singer songwriters and by the sound of it of many others to, as all copies of his latest release "I'll Make the Most Of My Sins" were all sold and awaiting a repressing. The joy of Robert is his ability to mix intense songs with humorous introductions giving the light and share required for a perfect set such as the opener "All For You" which we we were assured despite having a line about digging a hole and putting something in it was definitely not a song about serial killing!
It is at this point that I should add that Robert was accompanied by Gabe Rhodes who would later join his mother for her set. Gabe's contribution over the evening cannot be underestimated, and to avoid repetition just assume that for every song Gabe put in a telling solo or a guitar part, never flashy and always able to extract every last decibel of sound from whichever instrument he was playing with an occasional shake> He always able to add the perfect line to enhance the song..
From a song not about murder we went straight into one that was with "November", a murder ballad with a chorus to die for!, allowing Robert's voice to fill Bush Hall. From the pace of that song it was time to slow things down with the title track of the latest album with its beautiful "Shine a light" chorus. The set with closed on an intense note with "Demons" a song which built to a huge climax and was totally absorbing.
The next part of the evening saw a Rhodes / Harris family mash up, for while Kimmie and Gabe on guitars and vocals, with Miles on Cajon, and Bob on questions and occasional air guitar!, with Robert Vincent popping back at times as well. The music element of set one started with the title track of the book "Radio Dreams", a new song that beautifully covers the role of the radio in Kimmies life from listening to it as a young girl to hearing herself on it in later life.
A lovely version of Donovan's "Catch The Wind" saw Robert Vincent join in on the second verse and turned out to be the first song the Miles had learnt on guitar courtesy of Kimmie. There was a return to the flip side of an early hit "You You You", a relatively simple song elevated by Kimmie's vocals, and yes another excellent Gabe solo!. The musical side of the first set closed with "We Must Believe In Magic" and a touching story about Joe Gracey before leading into the ever wonderful tex mex of "Contrabandistas".
Part 2 stared with an extraordinary story about Kimmie's early family history, that led into "West Texas Heaven" that she sang eyes shut as if in another place with Gabe adding additional backing vocals. Robert Vincent returned for a verse of "Just One Love" which had Bob visibly tapping his knee in approval..
There was some audience participation for "Love Me Like A Song" where they were to take Willie Nelson's part. A tribute to one of Lubbock's most famous people came in the shape of "Raining In My Heart", which came as a slightly slowed reinvented version. Musically the evening came to an end with "Stand By Me" with Rob again taking a verse, while Bob did attempt some air guitar.
Although the music and questions were over due there was time for a book signing with both Kimmie and Bob signing their respective tomes.
We were also to hear that Robert and Kimmie have been writing songs together that may become something if they get enough songs written, the results of that would be something truly to savour,
Radio Dreams is published by Sunbird/Dancing Feet and is available now
Still Whispering After All These Years is published by Michael O'Mara and is also available