Kimmie Rhodes Brings her Cowgirl Boudoir to Belfast
“Everywhere I go I hear you whisper down my empty streets/Everywhere I go looks like a lonely town,” twanged Kimmie Rhodes during “West Texas Heaven,” her first song of the night. It was cowboy; it was country. She was starting as she meant to go on.
Kimmie was on stage with her son Gabe Rhodes, an accomplished multi-instrumentalist and music producer in his own right. They are touring Ireland and the UK, and tonight’s gig with The Real Music Club in Belfast was one of several on the island.
“I feel so much better after having played a song” she drawled to a room of Northern Irish accents. Her accent comes from Lubbock in Texas, home of Buddy Holly. “This is my most Buddy Holly song” she told us as they slid into “I’ve Been Loved By You” from her Walls Fall Down album. Gabe’s guitar playing started to show here, and their harmonies were sweet, they were lovely.
The tour is ostensibly about the launch of Kimmie’s latest album Cowgirl Boudoir. Believe it or not it’s her 16th album in a career spanning 34 years. Produced by Gabe, it is a country record to its core, with influences right from the 1960’s. The gig therefore had tracks from Cowgirl Boudoir as a thread running right through it. “The Sky Fell Down” would be a prime example. With Kimmie’s vocals sounding lower, we had Gabe leaning back in his chair, moving his neck slowly to whatever was going on with his guitar as he played. That guitar sound was ever so slightly Doors, or even Monkees, ever so slightly 60s.
For “Always Never Leave” from Cowgirl Boudoir, Kimmie was wishing out loud that they had the electric sitar with them, the one they play on the album, “because it’s real pretty”. As it was, however, they had Gabe playing some gorgeous opening bars and Kimmie’s voice pulling at the emotion in the song.
Gabe had a good long drink from his Guinness while Kimmie introduced “Yes” from the same album. “Change can be good” she told us smiling. “You can start to say yes to different things,” and in a sure shift in tempo she had the quiet buzz of a shy audience joining in on the chorus; feet were tapping and the beat was lightly drummed out on table tops.
But Cowgirl Boudoir was not the only music on offer. Kimmie introduced the title track of the Love Me Like A Song album by telling us “you get to sing the Willie Nelson part,” and indeed she had the room repeating lines after her, which she encouraged by looking up at us with big smiles. “Beautiful” she would say, and that kept us brave enough to do some more. Then “Just One Love” showed Kimmie’s voice off at its sweetest, at its most country, while Gabe interchanged between lap slide and picking his guitar.
“It’s a school night so we’ll not stay late.” She ended on “Love And Happiness” which brought out the warm hum of a shy singalong from the room, for one last time this evening. I was humming “Love Me Like A Song” on my way home, and smiled when I realised I was doing the Willie Nelson parts as well. Kimmie – I’m happy to fill in when you need a replacement …
Originally posted on Creative Voices NI
Video credit: Gerry McNally Photography
Photot credit: Sarah Koska