If there is a law against songwriting whilst driving in the State of Texas, then we were in the company at this gig of someone who has broken it, confessing all the while she had run off the road a couple of times as she engaged in this creative, if somewhat dangerous practice.
But Kimmie Rhodes has lived to tell the tale. It was one she shared, among many others, with her contented Celtic Connections’ audience before performing the jaunty yet warm, God’s Acre, written en route to the shopping mall one day. Ironically, the song appears on her 2003 release, Rich From The Journey.
The gospel tinged, Bells Of Joy was from the same album with the song written about a red-hot local Austin band who said she could perform with them one day. Poor Kimmie ended up, instead, at their merch desk and not on stage.
Anecdotes aplenty but they didn’t outshine the steady supply of pure country songs delivered with a delicacy and polished poise that comes with many years hard labour in the music business. Always Never Leave, from last year’s solidly fine release, Cowgirl Boudoir, was gorgeously moving with son (and the album’s producer) Gabe showing marvellous sensitivity on the baby grand.
Love Me Like A Song is in the running for my most beautiful love song of Celtic Connections award with Gabe’s sublime, heartache piano giving his mum’s voice added grip and emotion. He’s a mean guitar player too, as displayed with his smooth bottle neck slide on Just One Love, from her Jackalopes Moons And Angels album, released 16 years ago, with the support of Willie Nelson, who named his own 1995 release after this song.
The set’s end stretch featured a Bob Dylan song, Wallflower recorded by Doug Sahm that she covered on a Sahm tribute album; a stirring, romping, up-through-the-gears version of the Townes Van Zandt classic, White Freightliner Blues, and then local lad, Donovan’s Catch The Wind, which was gentle and fitting.
Nashville-based, singer/songwriter, Rod Picott offered a terrific support act set with the bump along of Elbow Grease and a co-written, heart-tugger, Spare Change standouts from his current dark but compelling release, Fortune. Great voice, touching songs – and like the main act – excellent stagecraft with amusing banter.