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  • Writer's pictureCHRIS FARLIE

ALBUM REVIEW: KIMMIE RHODES - HYPNOTIZED


KIMMIE RHODES - HYPNOTIZED

Having dropped excellent singles over the previous few months it is time to fully realise the "Hypnotized" project that Kimmie Rhodes has been working on with the release of a 10 track album. In an age where releases are including ridiculous amounts of tracks Kimmie has refined her choice down to the best ten and the album although clocking in at just over 37 minutes is all the better for it.


Produced by son Gabe, who manages a variety of styles with equal aplomb, this album has a number of themes. There is almost a sense of renewal, Kimmie seems able to recapture and recognize the beauty of love and nature - it isn't just for the young! The beauty of Paris and French culture find their way into many track giving everything a little elegance as it is done with such a light and knowing touch.


The album comes with a variety of styles. yet Kimmie does not seem out of place in any of them, so be prepared for a surprise or two along the way as Kimmie finds her own way to beguile the listener. Most of all be ready to listen to a singer at ease with themselves, their band, their position in life an the opportunities still out there. If you care to join Kimmie through these ten tracks you'll undoubtedly return rich from the journey!


The opening tracks were two of those aforementioned singles - the title track "Hypnotised" with it's wonderful array of drum, mandolin, guitar and organ that provide the perfect setting for Kimmie to lay down the opening lines.


"I've been stumbling blind and somehow it seems like time is slowing

I might be in a trance - not really sure of where I'm going

Scenes of you and me keep passing by

Waving this new world before my eyes"


The premise of the song is fairly universal across the world, detailing how your world can be changed by meeting someone new who shakes up your world in many ways.


The second track "No Tom Petty" opens concerned with the issue of global warming


"I read the news today - Oh boy! - It really made me start to think

What with these global warming stories - is it fake news or should we worry?"


That opening verse acts a wonderful device for pulling in another natural disaster that is occurring around us all too quickly, which is the demise of the musical cornerstones of our lives, those names that one way or another provided us with exhilarating memories at key formative moments. This sadness is wrapped up in a wonderful celebratory singalong chorus. name checking just a few that have passed


"We're living in a world with no Tom Petty, the world was bad enough already

With no George Harrison or John Lennon

No David Bowie, or Buddy Holly in sight

Where do we go - where do we go from here".


A duet with Alejandro Escovedo forms the third track "If You Closed Your Eyes". There's so much to unpack in this track, the musicality in the knowing Townes Van Zandt reference, the sheer beauty of the guitar playing in the break and of course the combined voices of Kimmie and Alejandro.


Anyone thinking they might know what a Kimmie Rhodes record will sound like might be surprised by the funky intro to "Man Who Went Walking In Paris". This tale of the relationship that never was beautifully evokes the French capital where you can literally sit for hours and people watch,


"I like to sit here in this French cafe - eating potato chips and sipping champagne

I've seen you passing by looking at me - you're a real looker it's plain to see"


The chorus locates the song and the fleetingness of the moment


"From the Place Vendome to the Champs Elysees

You'd be famous in the world as the one who got away"


Kimmie further ponders in a later verse -


"I know I'll probably never know your name - I think I might love you just the same

You'll never even know you stole my heart - you were just passing through Montmartre"


The song has the same rhythm and urgency as Talking Heads "Psycho Killer" had it but been a funky soulful country song with Kimmie's amorous musings replacing David Byrnes - curiously both songs quote bits of French! It's a great little gem of song.


From the funk to the acoustic simplicity of "Just Love" beautifully simple with a male voice tracking Kimmies


"What good is love if you don't give it?

if broken mirrors bring bad luck don't you worry don't give up

What good is life if you don't live it?"

When the sun comes up in the morning - every new day starts again

Just let one foot follow the other and you'll know right where to begin"


With telling subtle contributions on piano and guitar the whole song is elevated to another level.


In total contrast "Time and Love" opens to a bold drum beat announcing the arrival of something urgent, it's almost Beatlesque, in fact John Lennon is mentioned in the lyrics.


"Time and love there's so much of it"


Gabe's production is allowed free reign and fans of the fab four will surely delight in the little nuances spread throughout the song.


One of the tracks previewed before release "Invisible Mary" comes next where from the opening extended wailing guitar note, the scene is set for something special - there is definitely an air of mystery created in the near twenty seconds before Kimmie even says a word.


"She can enter the bar, like a ghost through the door

And dance across the floor, like thin air

Enjoy all the rumours, avoid all the stares

With all of the freedom, of not being there"


Mary is the creation of Kimmie and co writer Francine Honey and the reason she has these seemingly special powers is that she does not match the conventional ideas of beauty or rather what society seems to consider beautiful in this photo shopped idealistic world.


"Mary is invisible - never seen as pretty

Her eyes are dark stars shining,

Dark stars shining, oh she is so beautiful - She's invisible"


There is a piano that makes telling appearances throughout the track, almost musically stealing the show, it marks the arrival of Kimmie's grandson Louis Rhodes making his recording debut, it is nearly matched by his father Gabe who as well as being producer makes telling contributions on guitar, including a sumptuous solo.


"She's never lonely, cos she's never alone

But how can that Mary be everywhere?

Nobody sees her, in the nights bar lights

Shining in plain sight - she's lovely"


"Break Free" is another remarkable track with two drummers and  Shawn Pander echoing Kimmie's vocal making a sort of duet. with a lovely 12 string guitar in the background giving that Byrds "Mr Tambourine Man" sound.


"Life is like a film noir where black is white so everything looks gray"


The chorus implores us to wake up and see the beauty that surrounds us


"Break out, break free to the world I couldn't see

The birds are singing the sun is shining

Shining just for me

In the place where I was meant to be"


"Bluebird In The Rain" is another genre change that will no doubt raise an eyebrow or two. Opening to a shimmering cymbal, bongoes, jazzy guitar and piano - few would be expecting the groove that suddenly kicks in as Kimmie opines


"Ain't know sunshine on such a dreary day" - those opening three words surely meant to evoke the late great Bill Withers


Complete with a horn section and harmonica the song sees Kimmie's vocals delivered in a jazzy almost scat like at times style.


Gabe's production excels on this mavellous delight.


The album closes with the unlikely titled "Automatic Music Inc", that sees Kimmie finding herself at odds with the way modern music is created and consumed.


"I was once grooving to a sound that was moving

Through a Seburg Cadillac

Now I'm reminiscing about a world gone missing

And it ain't ever coming back"


She'll be glad to know she's not alone with her disquiet about how some modern country music is created, #TEAMw21 are forever railing against the dreaded click track, which it will come as little surprise is conspicuously absent on this particular platter


"There was a little bit more to songs before

They started running them through the machines"


The chorus quotes a Buddy Holly song title "Rave On" and almost musically touches on another, Buddy Holly may have sang "Not Fade Away" yet the final moments of this album are the acoustic guitar that has played throughout the final song doing just that as it tails of into the distance.


With each single from "Hypnotised" we said that this was testament to an artist who still has things to say and both lyrically and musically Kimmie has gone to prove that great music can be created at any time in your career given the right inspiration and collaborators.

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