FADING–YOU WANNA ROCK–LIES–THE ARTIST IN ME–LOVE–AFRAID TO DIE–ONLY GOING UP–JUST LIKE A RIVER–I WANT TO RUN–FADING (ACOUSTIC)
Kelly Richey has been on the blues-rock scene for some thirty-five years, and she’s got fifteen albums and a gazillion road miles under her belt as proof that she can hang with the best of ’em. Her sixteenth album may just be her best of all, ten originals that comprise “Shakedown Soul.” On this one, her raw, husky alto vocals and in-yo-face Strat are at the fore, and her songwriting takes an honest, sometimes painful look at surviving, not only in the music business, but thru abusive, bad relationships and her quest for ultimate redemption.
This set also incorporates many of her influences, which oftentimes owe more to Led Zep, Chrissie Hynde and The Pretenders, Patti Smith, and Ryan Adams than to Muddy and Buddy. Rikk Manning holds down the bass, and Tobe Donohue adds drums and his mad skills as producer, incorporating a literal “wall of sound” thru deft use of horns, electronica, and synths.
You can hear that Zep influence on her forewarning to a potential lover–“before you rock me all night long, you better have some soul!” It’s titled “You Wanna Rock,” and has Kelly’s killer guitar augmented by keys from Lee Carroll. On “Love,” she uses a cool “hiccup-y” vocal delivery to convey the message that “if you want to get love, you gotta give it!” Facing down one’s fears is the premise of “Afraid To Die,” while our favorite was a ballsy, Faces-inspired rocker, where her feelings take hold, and “my heart got in the way,” but, in the end, “some love can be tough, Just Like A River. kinda like me.”
For those seeking three chords and a cloud of dust, this one ain’t for you. But, if you want out-of-the-box, forward-thinking, solid blues-rock from a proven road warrior, then please give Kelly Richey’s “Shakedown Soul” a hearty listen! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.