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“Kimmie has the voice of a beautiful child coming from an old soul. She touches us where the better angels of our nature dwell, and I believe we need that now more than ever. If you haven’t before, do yourself a favor and bring her into your listening life.”
- Emmylou Harris
“While there’s a department of it in Washington, D.C., one must really question if there’s any justice in a country that can’t recognize what Willie Nelson did years ago: that Kimmie Rhodes is an “undiscovered superstar.” Yes, he was probably smokin’ something the Feds would frown upon at the time, but the fact remains that native Lubbockite Kimmie Rhodes is just as deserving of mention in the same revered breath with fellow West Texan musical legends such as Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, and the Flatlanders.”
- Lone Star Music Kimmie Rhodes Biography
Singer-songwriter Kimmie Rhodes is a native Texan who calls Austin home. Kimmie’s multi-platinum selling songs have been recorded by such stellar acts as Willie Nelson, Wynonna Judd, Trisha Yearwood, Amy Grant, CeCe Winans, Joe Ely, John Farnham, Waylon Jennings, Peter Frampton, Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris. A creative and prolific artist, she has recorded and released a total of sixteen solo CDs, written and produced three musical plays and a catalogue of hundreds of songs, and published a novell/cookbook. Kimmie is currently serving as an associate
producer for a documentary, “They Called Us Outlaws” to be presented by the Country Music Hall Of Fame In Nashville, TN., a trilogy of feature length films to be dedicated in memory of Joe Gracey and Waylon Jennings, produced and directed by Eric Geadelman. Kimmie is producing radio documentary/music programming for her show “Radio Dreams”, which focuses on the history and musicology of American roots music and artists. She is also starring with Jaston Williams in a theatrical production, “Is There Life After Lubbock and completing a book of memoirs, “Radio Dreams.”
Kimmie’s newest CD of all new original songs titled “Cowgirl Boudior”, was recently released on March 9, 2015 followed by a tour of the UK and Ireland. She attended The Chris Gifford’s Songwriting Retreat in June, hosted by The Buddy Holly Educational Foundation in Glastonbury and a winter tour for January 2016 is in the works, including an appearance at Midwinterfest in Torquay on January 16, 2016 and the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow on January 25th.
Kimmie grew up in Lubbock, Texas and began her singing career at the age of six with her family gospel trio. She moved to Austin in 1979, where she met DJ at the legendary KOKE FM and producer Joe Gracey, an instrumental figure in the Austin progressive country scene, who she eventually married. Joe was her constant companion. muse, bass player and general “partner in crime” until he died of cancer at the age of 61 in November 2011. In 1981 she recorded her first album, Kimmie Rhodes and the Jackalope Brothers when Willie Nelson invited her to use his studio. In 1985 she recorded her second album Man In the Moon. Her third album Angels Get The Blues, recorded at the original Sun Studio in Memphis, was released in 1989. These records led
to a series of British and European tours that received rave reviews. Kimmie’s 1998 CD release is a compilation of original songs from these three albums called Jackalopes, Moons & Angels. This Jackalope Records release marks the first time these songs have been available on CD in one collection.
Kimmie’s promotional tours created a solid fan base in the U.K., Ireland and Europe. She has headlined with her band at festivals all over the world and has appeared on many European and American TV and radio broadcasts. She has also appeared at many of Willie’s Farm Aid concerts and July 4th Picnics. Willie dubbed Kimmie “an undiscovered superstar” and together they recorded two of her originals for his album “Just One Love” and a duet CD, “Picture in a Frame.”
Kimmie appeared on Austin City Limits with Emmylou Harris, Dave Mathews, Patty Griffin, and Buddy & Julie Miller, where she and Emmylou performed their song “Ordinary Heart”. She guested on Late Night With David Letterman, performing “West Texas Heaven” at his request. Kimmie’s TV appearances also include a songwriter “guitar pull” Austin City Limits show with Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Billy Joe Shaver. New West Records recently released a DVD of that show titled “Outlaw Country”. She performed in two segments of The Nashville Network’s “Legend Series” hosted by Willie Nelson and another hosted by Waylon Jennings. Waylon said, “When I hear Kimmie sing it makes me know what the phrase ‘pulling on your heart strings’ means.” Kimmie co-wrote a song, “Lines”, with Waylon for his Justice release “Right For The Time”.
Kimmie’s movie soundtrack credits include “A Heart That’s True” for the “Babe: A Pig in the City” CD, “I’m Not An Angel” featured in the soundtrack of “Mrs. Winterbourne” and a song in the “Daddy’s Dyin’ Who’s Got the Will”
soundtrack. Her song, “Shine All Your Light”, co-written with Beth Nielson Chapman, was recorded by Amy Grant for the Touched By An Angel TV series soundtrack and CD, which reached the Top Ten in Billboard’s CD charts. Beth recently chose the song as her first single off her new CD “Prism”. She co-wrote “Ordinary Heart” with Emmylou Harris and the song was featured in the soundtrack to the movie “Happy Texas”. Emmylou’s performance of the song was nominated for a Grammy.
Kimmie’s 1996 CD West Texas Heaven features 12 of her original songs and includes duets with Waylon Jennings, Townes Van Zandt and Willie Nelson. USA Today said, “listening to West Texas Heaven is like a sweet unhurried ramble through bluebonnets”, picking the album for their “Best Bets” section. USA Today later picked the CD as one of the Top Ten Country Records of 1996.
Kimmie’s 1998 CD release is a compilation of original songs from these three albums called Jackalopes, Moons & Angels. This Jackalope Records release marks the first time these songs have been available on CD in one collection.
Kimmie 2000 release was Rich From the Journey (Sunbird), produced by her son Gabe Rhodes. Featuring a guest appearance by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings and performances by such great musicians as Kevin Savigar, the late Jimmy Day and John Gardner.
In 2000 Kimmie and Joe Gracey co-authored a novella/cookbook, The Amazing Afterlife of Zimmerman Fees (Sunbird Press).
A playwright and actress as well, her debut theatrical project was her musical, Small Town Girl, directed by and starring Joe Sears of Greater Tuna. She also released a CD by that title of the music featured in the play. She and Joe Sears then wrote and produced a musical review called Hillbilly Heaven. She worked with Sears as Musical Director for his outdoor drama production of Trail of Tears for the Cherokee Heritage
Center during 2001 through 2003.
In 2002, Kimmie released Love Me Like A Song (Sunbird). The CD features duets with Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Beth Neilsen Chapman, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench. The CD artwork comes from a series of Kimmie’s original oil paintings.
In 2003 she released a compilation of duets with Willie Nelson titled “Picture In A Frame”. It’s their first duet CD, featuring the Tom Waits-penned title track, a new Willie song (“It Always Will Be”), five original Kimmie tunes, and classics from Rodney Crowell and Willie. Recorded at Willie’s World Headquarters in Luck, Texas with a small acoustic group, this CD captures Willie and Kimmie at their most intimate and relaxed. Her 2004 CD release titled “Lost & Found”, a set of never-released songs recorded between 1996 and 2003, features a song co-written with Waylon Jennings and other tracks with a host of talented writing partners, as well as some of Kimmie’s best self-penned tunes. In 2005 Kimmie released “Windlbown”, which also served as the soundtrack for a performance art piece featuring live music, interpretive dance, and character portrayals by Joe Sears, with its debut performance in January 2005. More information about the play can be obtained at http://www.windblown.biz.
In 2005 Sunbird released “Ten Summers”, a compilation CD reprising ten years of Kimmie’s favorite recordings from 1995 to 2005.
In 2008 “Walls Fall Down” was recorded and released on her independent label, Sunbird. In support of “Walls Fall Down”, Kimmie toured ten European countries, including the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow and some guest appearances with her friend and writing partner Emmylou Harris, Canada’s Edmonton Folk Festival and the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco.
In 2010 a long awaited CD of her original Christmas songs,
“Miracles On Christmas Day” was released followed by a promotional tour, including special Christmas shows in Britain and Ireland.
Kimmie Rhodes’ Dreams of Flying CD, which was released on March 21, 2011, presents original songs and a classic duet with her fellow Lubbockite Joe Ely.
In 2013 in a rare moment for the well-known songwriter, Kimmie released a CD covering some of her favorite songs, titled Kimmie Rhodes “Covers.” Covers” marked a “sea change” for Kimmie Rhodes. For the first time, the songwriter’s songwriter, put down her pen to devote an entire album to singing of the songs of others whose music has served milestones of her storied performing and recording career, and her life. Rhodes first studio adventure since the passing of longtime partner and collaborator Joe Gracey, Kimmie draws deep from a wide range of catalogues – Thiele and Weiss, Lennon and McCartney, Jagger and Richards, Jimmy Reed, Mark Knopfler, Dylan, Bono, Tom Petty, Leon Russell, Neil Young and Tom Waits, and channels close friends Townes Van Zandt and Rodney Crowell; telling each story in that clear, soaring songbird voice that takes ownership of every composition.
Kimmie / Emylou