Zanesville native Kim Richey has made a name for herself in Nashville, penning tunes for such Music City big shots as Trisha Yearwood, Brooks & Dunn, and the Dixie Chicks. Her own records, however, have found more critical kudos than commercial success. She only lasted for one studio album on the artist-friendly Lost Highway Records, home to country maverick Lucinda Williams. Part of Richey's "problem" is that her own music doesn't fit into a neat little box. Her intimate, handcrafted songs operate in the realm of smart adult pop, although they are generously laced with touches of country and rock. As do other female singer-songwriter iconoclasts, such as Shawn Colvin, Patty Griffin, and Sam Phillips, she makes the music that she wants to make, categories be damned. Her last studio effort, 2002's Rise
, resonates with the wounds of the heart. Last month, Lost Highway released a fine-up-to-this-point Richey retrospective (blandly titled The Collection
), but hearing her perform live is the best way to appreciate her lovely, lovestruck songs.