Kim Richey comes home to Dayton

Apr 29, 2012

Homecomings can be fraught with danger.

 Distractions abound:  “Friends” from third grade might just want to say hello, and maybe get a free ticket and CD, or there could be well-meaning members of the extended family who want to catch up with each other while the opener is singing.

Kim Richey came home to Dayton Saturday night and embraced a crowd that was filled with familiar faces. Kettering’s favorite daughter, backed by Dan Mitchell and Neilson Hubbard, gracefully hit the hits like “Every River,” “Those Words,” “Reel Me In” and “Come Around.” 

If you’re a Richey fan, there’s a good chance you feel like she’s never gotten her due as a songwriter (and a performer). She has been nominated for Grammys and sold songs to popular television shows.

She has made six consistently strong albums since 1995’s self-titled debut, and is an engaging entertainer. Richey put all of her talents on display Saturday.

Singing for the first time since being forced to cancel three shows after losing her voice, she was in fine form on the high notes and blended perfectly with Mitchell and Hubbard on harmonies. She told stories about the origins of songs, how she tried to communicate with a pen and a notepad while staying silent for a week on doctor’s orders, and earned a round of applause when she said work will start in July on her first album since 2010’s “Wreck Your Wheels.” 

Richey dutifully announced her mother’s favorite song (“Lay It Down”), then double checked with her because of some apparent confusion between the pair in the past about the family’s ethnic heritage. 

After the trio finished “Every River” and Mitchell and Hubbard left the stage, Richey lingered, soaking in the cheers. She called the boys back, spent a moment trying to decide on a tune, then delivered a heartfelt version of “Let It Roll,” which celebrates the power of a song. 

Danger averted.

Georgia Goad, a Kettering girl herself, opened the show with 30 minutes of fine singing and guitar playing. Appearing a bit nervous at first, Goad settled in and started to smile as the crowd acknowledged her efforts. 

Before she finished, Goad took a moment to say how proud she was to play on the same stage as “Miss Richey,” a gracious nod to her homey. All in all, a good night for singer-songwriters from suburban Dayton.