KIM RICHEY Rise (Lost Highway/Universal) Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
When you hire Bill Bottrell (Sheryl Crow, Shelby Lynne) as a producer, you also get a co-writer, guitarist, bassist, drummer, programmer, arranger and engineer as part of the deal. Some artists might feel that's giving up too much control, but it turns out to be a good thing in the case of Rise. Bottrell is able to create the appropriate sonic counterbalance to lighten up Richey's brooding introspection, which has made much of her past work difficult listening. Richey fans should rest assured that Bottrell didn't give her the whole Sheryl Crow pop make-over. There's still more than enough sad-sack moping to go around, but at least the 60s-soul-inspired touches make it bearable. Kim Richey tries to recreate the studio magic live at the Horseshoe Wednesday (October 23).