Kim Richey

Updated February 11, 2017 | Infoplease Staff

Bitter Sweet

  • Mercury

Sure, the package is a bit too perfect: She writes, she sings and poses to kill. But her aim is true, her confidence rings slyly coy; there's an irresistible undertow of mischief throughout. At least she's got sense enough to collaborate (mostly with Angelo, her steady producer), and her first-personisms are nothing if not unsentimental. She even makes a standard genre piece like “To Tell the Truth” sound like silk gliding across a baby's skin. You could ask for a sturdy cover or two — something from the Dwight Yoakum catalog, perhaps. But with writing chops like this, it's easy to forgive her ambition. (“There goes my whole world up in smoke/I might be laughin' if I weren't the joke . . .”) That Rosanne Cash's producer/husband John Leventhal co-wrote “I Know” like some lost guitar-band classic should be an endorsement for most. Others can admire the way Richey embeds syncopation right into her refrains (“Every River” and “Wildest Dreams”) as if rhythm was country's best foundation — which, by the way, it is. And the hooks just keep on coming.

— Tim Riley

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