Jumpin’ Hot Club
November 16th 2019
Despite what I often imply, Mrs. Magpie and I agree on a lot more music than we actually disagree on; and top of that list is Ms Kim Richey; so tonight was a highly anticipated gig in our household.
With hindsight, opening act Jimmi Mack was an odd choice, simply because he is a bonafide Olde Schoole Folke Singer. Nothing wrong with that in the right setting of course; but tonight his deeply intense and often personal songs jarred with what the audience had come to hear from the headline act.
On another night, and in another setting Mack’s delicate and fascinating guitar playing on the ‘Allen Ginsberg inspired’ instrumental and his songs Wander and Soon would have been spellbinding; instead of the polite applause afforded them by the Sold Out crowd.
After a 15 minute break Kim Richey was guided through the packed room with guitar in one hand and a Star Wars coffee mug in the other.
With no disrespect intended to Jimmi Mack, the evening took an immediate upwards turn right from the opening bars of Every River, which was greeted with a roar of approval and loud applause as the final guitar flourish left the speakers.
With a back catalogue dating back to 1995 Kim regaled us with a veritable Best Of for the next 90 minutes, and being a natural raconteur interspersed them with the most charming of stories.
We are ‘late to the party’ so songs like Chinese Boxes and Thorn in My Heart were not just new delights but very, very special songs indeed.
Early on the singer said she was happy to sing any requests we had; although ‘she couldn’t guarantee she could remember everything!’ The first was A Place Called Home, with its lovely rolling guitar parts and delicate phrasing; and now I’ve just ordered the album to hear it again.
With Edgeland from 2018 being her most recent release and nothing new to promote, tonight was a refreshing change with the songwriter just singing songs that ‘just took her fancy’ as the night progressed.
While apologising for constantly re-tuning her guitar Ms Richey reminded us that the beautiful, and in this setting ‘stark’ Pin a Rose was a co-write with Chuck Prophet! This was the first of three songs from that album; with her Goddaughter’s favourite Wild Horses sounding even more powerful without the ‘big backing’ of the recorded version and only her power-chords accompanying this outstanding song.
The night flew by and Kim Richey had already been on stage for 90 minutes when I looked at my watch for the first (and only) time!
The concert drew to a close with some more new songs to us; you could hear a pin drop during the heartbreaker The Absence of Your Company and the story behind the title of Angel’s Share added extra pathos to a song that was always destined to have us wiping tears from the eyes.
One of the many reasons I love ‘live music’ is that I’m going to see and hear something that no one else will ever see or hear apart from the others in that very room; and tonight during the finale I’m Alright Kim fumbled on the guitar parts! Goodness knows how many times she’s played this song over the years, but fumble she most certainly did. Laughing off the faux pas, Kim then went ‘off mic’ for the obligatory, “I can’t believe it’s not an encore, encore” and tonight the choice was exemplary; Sunday Morning, Coming Down.
I’ve heard many versions over the years; but in this intimate setting Kim Rung every ounce of emotion possible from Kristofferson’s modern day classic; and when the lights came up the audience; as one rose to their feet in noisy adulation and praise.