One of the many compliments you can pay to Texas native Kimmie Rhodes is in praise of her incredible productivity. Following on her strangely enjoyable Christmas album, Ms Rhodes has released “Dreams of Flying” which doesn’t fail to meet the high standards that critics and fan alike will expect of her. Borrowing a few industry friends for the task (including Gabriel Rhodes on production duties and the vocals of the redoubtable Joe Ely) only seems to have helped her cause.
The title track serves as an instant reminder of the power of Rhodes’s voice. Evoking thoughts of Icarus and his doomed ascent, Ms Rhodes lets her voice soar no like no human - wish though they might - is able. “Back Again”, despite immediate reference to the blackbird, is less obvious in paralleling the struggles of the bird and the troubles with human relationships.
A hushed version of Donovan’s “Catch the Wind” - with guest vocals from the esteemed Joe Ely - is a nice touch. Perhaps appropriate, too, given the evident concept taken on by the album.
Indeed, an evergreen quality of Rhodes’s voice is that of being able to send shivers down the spine of the listener. The standout track on this album is “One By One,” on which every word can be treated as being of extreme worth - to the previous, to the next, on its own.
If there’s any greatness on the album that comes close to rivalling Rhodes’s voice, it’s her ability to conjure metaphors that really please the ears and mind. “New Way Through” covers this to a suitable extent. Never one to shy from the topic of a deity, Rhodes gives some thought to the supernatural and to God himself on “Unholy Ghost” and “Not A Cloud” - the latter again not directly involving the earth’s soil.
You could be forgiven for partying to “Luh Luh Love,” which seems appropriate to the album despite it being the only truly “upbeat” song present. “Start Saying Goodbye” ends the album, just another song that’ll have grown men crying. It just seems to come naturally to Rhodes.
“Dreams of Flying” is an at-times frighteningly beautiful album. This isn’t the first time I’ve felt compelled to write such words on a Kimmie Rhodes album and I doubt it’ll be the last. Go, buy it, be grateful.
Bluesbunny Album of the Month for March 2011.