Published on December 5th, 2014 | by Robert Barry Francos0
Kimm Rogers – Where the Pavement Grows
Writer Robert Barry Francos looks at the latest album from an old favourite of his: Where the Pavement Grows, from curly-haired LA songstress Kimm Rogers.
I’m not sure how I first became aware of Kimm Rogers, but I know it was when her first Island Records release, Soundtrack of My Life, was out in 1990. I fell in love it with it, and it’s one of the few song collections I own in more than two formats (LP, cassette, CD). First I gave a copy of it to my then girlfriend (now spouse), then passed it on to others as well; we all became fans. The video that came out of it was ‘Right By You.’ Honestly, to me, it could have been a dartboard choice because every cut on it was worthy. They self-examine her place in life, both in a small focus and writ large.
One more full release on Island in 1992, Both Sides, also had a powerful video attached, ”Will Work For Food,” a political piece about the impoverished lives seen strewn around major cities.
And what do I enjoy and appreciate about Kimm? Many things, but essentially it’s that she has her own, unique voice, both figuratively and literally. Her vocals are distinctive and easily identifiable as hers, such as with the likes of Patti Smith, Lucinda Williams, or Emmylou Harris. What’s more, she has a slightly different way of enunciation, with the push of certain syllables, and her songs bend in ways that are her own.
Twenty-two years later, she has once again put her heart on the line with her latest, self-released ‘Where the Pavement Grows.’ Fortunately, as usual, all the songs here are her originals. There is a definite growth in song writing here, yet without losing anything that is what I have come to like about the singer-songwriter. A good example is ‘Twenty-Three,’ which is sort of a mirror refection look back to the song ‘2-0-19,’ from her first album. In the earlier, she wonders what life will look like in the future compared to the time, and in the more recent, she thinks back from today compared to when she was younger. This is just one of a number of upbeat numbers that will both have you thinking and tapping your foot. Even her mushy love ballads, such as ‘Rain,’ and ‘Gravity’ (the latter of which would make a great film theme song) keep your heart warm.
Jazz and blues musician Julian Coryell does magnificently in keeping Kimm’s voice in the front without losing any of the sounds backing her, many of which are played by himself. It’s crisp and the vocals are clear. Still, the big sounding ‘Eventually,’ full of memorable lines like, “I’m not killing time it’s killing me / I’ll end up where I’m supposed to be / Eventually,” never loses itself into excesses.
This is a very measured, seasoned release, taken from a different perspective from her earlier life, though obviously through the same eyes / style. There is growth, maturity in both lyrics and fluidity, even when looking at the harder aspects of existence, such as the title cut or the doubts of ‘Valentine’s Day.’
It may have taken over two decades for this to reach its present form, but it was worth the wait. Check out the video on to her Website. Meanwhile, I’ll hope she’ll tour so I can finally get to see her perform live.