Kim Carnes

Chasin' Wild Trains

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Time, dreams, and angels seem like Stevie Nicks territory and that's just some of the subject matter on Chasin' Wild Trains, which probably means Kim Carnes is getting introspective these days -- leaning more towards a folksy Patti Smith than the pal of Kenny Rogers we've known and loved. The woman who has somehow straddled the country and rock worlds better than most sounds like a female version of the Eagles going acoustic -- and that's a compliment. "Oh I'd go drivin' down a two lane highway/chasin' wild trains" she sings in "Runaway" while playing keyboards on this blend of piano/guitar/violin/viola and cello. It's one of the more intriguing tracks,l holding the title of the CD in its bosom. Where Jackie DeShannon's album from 2000, You Know Me, fired on all cylinders, Carnes takes a more subtle approach, though she opens "You Made My Skin Burn" with "You don't know me/I don't know you," almost in a reverse answer to her old friend DeShannon's album title. It's the creative Carnes weaving magic, even some fade-in and fade-out on the ending à la Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds." This particular track is included in the soundtrack of Jeff Bridges' film The Moguls (Carnes previously recorded with Bridges in a duet for The Contenders, his 2001 film) and it is one of the more rockin' -- and eerie -- numbers on this disc. What would have been a treat would be for Carnes to have modeled the new cover of her now classic hit after the original from Jackie DeShannon 1975 New Arrangement LP. "Still Warmed by the Thrill" brings more moodiness and depth to a project which features a truly eclectic cast from Craig Krampf , the drummer from Carnes' original band, showing up on the two of the more commercial tracks -- "Just to See You Smile" and "You Made My Skin Burn" -- to the great Al Anderson co-writing and lending guitars to the skiffle-ish "Stepped Right in It" along with hubby Dave Ellingson adding some percussion. Jeff Hanna from Nitty Gritty Dirt Band adds slide guitar to "If I Was an Angel," featuring the excellent line "There's no choosin' where you land/once you fall from grace" while "Too Far Gone" recalls this artist's "Gypsy Honeymoon" phase. Kim Carnes' album Chasin' Wild Trains could easily elude an audience because one needs to pay a lot of attention to it, the Scotty Bagget recording of Carnes' production is not as immediately pronounced but ready, willing, and able to grow on you when given the chance.

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