Kim Richey’s Old Friend: Swimming Outdoors In Cold Water

Kim Richey spent the initial portion of her 15-year career chafing at various stylistic restraints, some self-imposed, others foisted upon her by others. Through the second half of the ’90s, the itinerant daughter of a Dayton, Ohio, record-store owner sampled and discarded various guises: new-country misfit (1995’s Nashville-friendly self-titled debut), Lucinda Williams in waiting (1997’s calculated Americana stab Bittersweet) and top-40 hopeful (1999’s super-slick Glimmer). And while those albums had at least two things in common—great songwriting and a soulful, not-in-the-least-bit-showy vocal approach—it wasn’t until more recently that Richey locked into a groove all her own. That in mind, Wreck Your Wheels (Thirty Tigers), her sixth and latest release, finds the artist reveling in a friction-free comfort zone somewhere along the well-read, emotionally honest folk/pop continuum. Richey will be guest-editing all week. Read our Q&A with her.

Richey: I’m not quite a polar bear yet, but I may try it this year. Some say there are health benefits such as, “it can stimulate mental processes, produce hormones which make the body able to cope with physical stresses and can increase the level of mental awareness and a feeling of well-being. It can also release stress, remove aches and pains, increase vitality and keep skin looking younger. Many even treat their asthma or arthritis with cold water swimming.” I just like the way it makes me feel.

Video after the jump.