Kimme Rhodes at the Hen & Chicken, Bristol
This was an amazing opportunity to see a Great Country & Western Legend in a small & intimate venue and for sure the appreciative audience were treated to an evening of Glorious Music and Wonderful Stories from her Magical & Impressive Musical Journey.
With 16 solo CDs and multi-platinum selling songs, having recorded with artists such as Willie Nelson, Wynonna Judd, Trisha Yearwood, Amy Grant, CeCe Winans, Joe Ely, John Farnham, Waylon Jennings, Peter Frampton, Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris we knew we were pretty privileged to be there.
Before the gig I had purchased from her website her latest CD, ‘Cowgirl Boudoir’ & listened to her on Richard Madeley’s Radio Show on the previous Sunday which had given me a flavour of her amazingly friendly & fun personality & her beautiful voice. The song ‘Love & Happiness for You’ had been performed so stunningly even though she had taken a flight after three shows in Ireland at 3.30am & the show in London started at 11am.
The Setlist was as follows (Albums in Parenthesis):
1. West Texas Heaven (West Texas Heaven)
2. I’ve Been Loved By You (Walls Fall Down)
3. Just One Love (Jackalopes, Moons & Angels)
4. Love Me Like A Song (Love Me Like A Song)
5. Bells Of Joy (Rich From The Journey)
6. God’s Acre (Rich From The Journey)
7. If I Needed You (Walls Fall Down)
8. Contrabandistas (Jackalopes, Moons & Angels)
——– Break ——–
9. Worthy Cause (Cowgirl Boudoir)
10.Catch The Wind (Dreams Of Flying)
11.Raining in my Heart (Cover of Buddy Holly Song)
12.I Just Drove By (Jackalopes, Moons & Angels)
13.Yes ( Cowgirl Boudoir)
14.Love & Happiness For You (Love Me Like A Song)
Kimmie was ably supported by her son, Gabe Rhodes on guitar & backing vocals providing some great lead licks & adding depth to Kimme’s guitar playing & beautiful vocals. Unfortunately her daughter, Jolie Goodnight was unwell & unable to attend.
The event held only about 100 in the audience & the atmosphere was a cosy intimate one & Kimmie made great contact & made everyone feel welcome & involved. She chatted at length between songs telling us about her musical career & the background behind the songs. She said that she had been fortunate to have worked with so many great artists & I’m sure they must have felt the same way about working with her. For much of her career her husband, Joe Gracey had produced her records& when he died in 2011 it was a great loss to her. She said she had tried alcohol but that hadn’t worked so the solution that evolved was to say ‘yes’ to everything. Her celebration of this was illustrated in her penultimate song of the evening which was ‘Yes’.
Kimmie made mention of the fact that she was from Lubbock, Texas which was the same as other great artists such as Buddy Holly, Waylon Jennings and Joe Ely.
West Texas Heaven was a brilliant opening song and a great introduction to what was to follow. Wonderful songs sung with great harmonies with lovely flowing finger-picking & strumming from Kimmie’s guitar. The Guitar was a beautiful sweet sounding parlour size Martin guitar from the late 1920’s. Kimmie’s son, Gabe played dynamic contrasting guitar lines& occasionally played slide on some songs at which point he would lay the guitar on his lap with suitably altered tunings. He also provided piano accompaniment on some songs and Kimmie said they had a grand piano at the previous gig but much preferred the sound of this upright piano.
Just One Love, the third song had been recorded with Joe Ely at Willie Nelson’s recording studio and Gabe played great slide guitar on this song. Love Me Like A Song was a great emotional song & the lyrics are inspirational.
God’s Acre was another great song played with slide guitar and If I needed you had been influenced by Townes Van Zant.
Contrabandistas was one of Kimmie’s early songs recorded with the Jackalope Brothers ( Joe Ely and her second husband Joe Gracey, whom she had first met in 1979 at Koke FM where he had been a DJ. This song was a rousing & dynamic one with great guitar work by both artists & a great close to the first half.
The second half opener was ‘Worthy Cause’, a track off her latest CD followed by ‘Catch the Wind’ a great Donovan cover which she had played earlier in the week at the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow. A Great Buddy Holly cover followed called ‘Raining in My Heart’.
The final song, ‘Love and Happiness For You’, was a beautiful song that Kimmie and Emylou Harris wrote for their children. Kimme conveyed the passion & feeling in the words so well and the lyrics are wonderful.
All in all this was such a lovely concert by such a brilliant artist with her very talented son. The warmth, love of life & family, the great communicator and teller of great real life stories; the beautiful voice and wonderful lyrics in her songs, coupled with the great musical skills, harmonies all made for an enchanting and special evening that we were all fortunate to attend. Kimmie has a great skill of getting the audience to be involved and this wonderful lady gave us so much to appreciate. A true artist in that after giving such a performance, she stayed behind to chat and sign CDs.