On Walls Fall Down, her 13th album of one sort or another released during the last 27 years (most of them on her own label, Sunbird Records), Kimmie Rhodes continues to come off as a talented if minor member of the Texas singer/songwriter community. Possessing a breathy, girlish voice that may remind listeners, depending on their age, of Carolyn Hester, Emmylou Harris, or Nanci Griffith, Rhodes mixes her original songs of love and social concern with covers that suggest her influences, including a version of Townes Van Zandt's "If I Needed You" (which was a hit for Harris in a duet with Don Williams). Environmental concerns come out in the title song and in "There's a Storm Coming," which references Hurricane Katrina. Politics is considered, probably in the person of President George W. Bush, in "Your Majesty" ("How did anyone like you/Get to where you've gotten to?," she asks). The love songs, notably "I've Been Loved by You" and "Shining Like a Sun," have a pop sound to them, and the Beatles emerge as a major influence both on a cover of "The Fool on the Hill" and on the apocalyptic closer, "Last Seven Seconds." That's the "last seven seconds of the universe" Rhodes has in mind, and she sets her vision of this cataclysm to an arrangement reminiscent of "I Am the Walrus." This is a mixed collection of material from a veteran miniaturist devoted to her craft. It is unlikely to bowl anybody over, either her fans or those encountering her for the first time, but it is likely to please all listeners with a taste for Texas singer/songwriters.
Walls Fall Down Review
by William Ruhlmann