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Two-Step Switcheroo

Kim Richey has shelved her country sound for straight-ahead pop.

The emergence on Nashville labels of acts like Earle, Lyle Lovett and Nanci Griffith (note: all Texans) in the mid-1980s gave many aspiring roots artists -- pardon the pun -- a glimmer of hope for something cool out of Nashville. Says Richey: "Then it was like, 'Sucker!'"

In truth, Music City has been good to Richey in many ways, especially in the success she has had with covers of her songs. "That's what I live on. If I had to count on me, I'd really be in trouble," she scoffs. But then she belies her self-deprecating comment with another ode to the benefits of change, and of doing something new, as she is currently attempting with her first tour as a solo act, opening for Yearwood.

"It's good, because sometimes you can get really dependent on a single person or a band or something and think, 'I can't do it without those people.' Then the rug gets pulled out from under you, and it's really horrible for a while. And then it turns into a good thing," she says. "Because you realize, in the end, that you can only rely on yourself."

Not everyone gets to boss around Nashville record-label types the way  Kim Richey does.
Not everyone gets to boss around Nashville record-label types the way Kim Richey does.

And perhaps your Swiss Army blade.

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