Darden Smith & Kim Richey
Kim Richey and Darden Smith
Darden Smith – Open and empty. That’s how Darden Smith describes the west Texas landscape that inspired his wildly creative new multi-media project, Western Skies. Comprising a new studio record, a book of photography, lyrics, and essays, and an accompanying album of readings set to music, the collection is an immersive journey through a world both real and imagined, a place of mystery and mythology, possibility and longing. Like his photographs, Smith’s writing is steeped in isolation, though rarely lonely; timeless, yet acutely aware of the hours and minutes whizzing by like mileposts on the highway. The songs on Western Skies are spare and deliberate, often marked by a distinct sense of motion and transience, and the performances are similarly raw and intimate, reflecting the desolate beauty of the region that so captured Smith’s imagination as he crisscrossed it time and again throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kim Richey – “I started off that record scared to death,” Kim Richey recalls of making Glimmer with producer Hugh Padgham back in 1999 in New York and London. A disastrous haircut, unfamiliar musicians, and oversized budgets didn’t help matters. “It wasn’t the way I was used to making records.”
The way Richey was used to making records was with friends in a vibed-out, low-key setting. That’s how she made her debut album with Richard Bennett, and it’s how she made her new album, Long Way Back… The Songs of Glimmer, with Doug Lancio. So Glimmer was different, and not just on the production side.
Then, as now, the compositions that comprise Glimmer were the Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter’s first collection of true confessionals. Prior to that she’d been a staff writer at Blue Water Music writing from a more arm’s-length vantage point for her first two releases, 1995’s Kim Richey and 1997’s Bitter Sweet. But Glimmer was all her.