For Kim Richey, tonight will serve as a Midwestern musical homecoming of sorts.
The Nashville roots singer-songwriter, who originally hails from Dayton, Ohio, will perform tonight at 20 Front Street in Lake Orion with Australian singer-songwriters Jordie Lane and Clare Reynolds. It will be Richey’s second time performing at the 100-seat intimate acoustic music venue.
“I always try to do songs from all the records, at least one or two from every record. I’ll be playing a lot of stuff from ‘Edgeland,’” said Richey during a phone interview from Banff, Alberta. “It’s such a blast to sing with people who are great singers, so we have a lot of great harmony things going. Clare plays keyboards and percussion as well, Jordie plays electric guitar, and I play acoustic.”
On her latest album, “Edgeland,” Richey moves through the topography of life as a woman committed to following her music. She chronicles missed train rides, cautionary tales of dangerous love, potential new pathways and other self-discoveries on the 12-track Americana-infused project.
From the Buck Owens/Don Rich opening notes of “Red Line” to the Laurel Canyon lushness of “The Get Together” to the Dusty Springfield-inspired “Can’t Let You Go” to the somber “Black Trees,” Richey’s husky crystalline alto sweeps listeners up in a whirl along her heartfelt auditory journey.
“Once every few years, you pick a dozen songs or so for a new album,” said Richey, who’s also lived in Los Angeles and London. “I think those songs reflect where I was at the time while making the record, but I have a home now, so things have changed.”
For “Edgeland,” Richey enlisted producer Brad Jones, known for Over the Rhine, as well as Josh Rouse, Butterfly Boucher, Hayes Carll and Marshall Crenshaw in crafting an album that evokes and provokes listeners emotionally and musically.
Richey also deeply tugs at listeners’ heartstrings and her own on the Mellotron-tinged “Black Trees,” a track she wrote while doing a residency in Banff.
“I was at a place where I wasn’t sure what I was going to be doing and if I wanted to keep doing music,” she said. “Being here at Banff got me excited about what I was doing again, so that’s an important song to me.”
With three different tracking bands, the album includes a host of talented Nashville roots players, including steel player Dan Dugmore, drummer Jerry Roe, Wilco multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone, guitarists and string players Doug Lancio and Dan Cohen, string arranger Chris Carmichael and Robin Hitchcock.
“So many of these guys produce and make records on their own,” Richey said. “I’m open to collaboration, too. These songs wouldn’t sound the way they do without these players.”
As a Grammy-nominated songwriter, Richey has penned tracks for other artists, including “Believe Me Baby (I Lied)” for Trisha Yearwood, “Nobody Wins” with Radney Foster and “Chain of Joy” with Felicity Urquhart.
“I love writing with other people, I’ve done it since I moved to Nashville,” she said. “It makes me think in ways that I wouldn’t if I were just sitting there on my own. I also really love the social aspect of it, I’ve met a lot of my really great friends just from sitting down working on songs with them.”
Richey forges strong connections with other artists as an artist in residence and songwriting workshop instructor at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. She recently worked with 28 international artists on songwriting, recording and performing.
“When they started up this songwriters’ workshop, I got asked to do that, and it’s a three-week program. The artists are here to work on their own material, and everybody either has a studio as a hut in the woods or in the music building,” Richey said. “We do workshops in the morning, and then we’re in our studios, and we do one-to-one sessions with the songwriters. We also put on shows every Thursday, Friday and Saturday while we’re up here.”
With her songwriters’ workshop wrapped up, Richey is currently embarking on her U.S. spring tour, which will run through June and include stops in Michigan and Ohio as well as the northeast and west.
“I’m going to do some more shows, and I’ve got some festivals coming up,” she said. “Then, I’ll go over to the U.K. for some shows at the end of October, beginning of November.”
8 p.m. tonight
20 Front Street in Lake Orion