"To me, rise means a gentle lift, like smoke rising," says Kim Richey of the idea for the title of her fourth album, Rise. "When you get so wrapped up in what's going on in your own tiny little world and things start to spin, you have to lift up and look at what else is going on around you, get a different perspective and rise above it all."
Rise was produced by Bill Bottrell (Sheryl Crow, Shelby Lynne) at his Mendocino County, California studio. Along with producing and co-writing, Bottrell played on the album and provided the band: bassist Birdie and drummer Brian McCleod. "I played a lot of acoustic guitar and Bill played electric guitar and just about everything else," says Richey, who describes Bottrell's studio as "a pretty magical place." "We were set up in a warehouse on the headlands, and on days it was warm enough, we worked outside--you could hear seals in the background. I really trusted Bill's instincts, personally and musically, because he's amazingly talented. I think people think of him as a genius producer, but he's truly an artist himself."
Richey brought along her friends, Chuck Prophet and Pete Droge, "for insurance," she says. "I was all worried 'cause I didn't know anyone, so I asked if Chuck and Pete could come. But the other guys and I ended up being like a band and really had a great time hanging out." The Droge and Prophet insurance policy paid off on two collaborations. The velvety duet, "Electric Green," was co-written with Droge who also sits in on vocals. The impressive first single, "This Love," written with Prophet, is a shout-it-out celebration of love supreme. "Kim was willing to take the on-the-fly approach that Bill favors," says Prophet. "She pulled the songs out of the air with the tape rolling every inch of the way. She went for it."
Richey is no stranger to the collaborative process; she's also a successful and highly acclaimed songwriter in her own right. She's written songs for other artists that have reached number one: "Nobody Wins" for Radney Foster and "Believe Me Baby (I Lied)" for Trisha Yearwood, the latter nominated for two Grammys. Richey's self-titled debut and Bitter Sweet, her 1997 follow up, earned critical favor upon release. 1999's Glimmer was her most personal statement to date as she went deeper into her own writing and moved toward discovering her personal sound. Time magazine named Glimmer "One of the 10 Best Albums of 1999."
In 2001, Richey became part of the newly formed Lost Highway Records for the recording of Rise. "Since the day we signed Kim, I have watched her jump to the next level of artistry. I am so proud to see that she's made her finest work to date," says Lost Highway President Luke Lewis.
Rise takes Kim’s introspective song-style and matches it to unique melodies and clever arrangements, all of which mesh perfectly with her warmest and most immediate vocal ever. "She sings with the authentic beauty of the American heart. She led our recording sessions into calm, courageous places," says Bottrell.
Richey adds, ”This is the most fun I’ve had making a record since I first started out. It was a really comfortable and creative environment. I loved working with Bill, Birdie & Brian, and I think you can hear that in the record.”