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Royal Wade Kimes - How The West Was Sung 
Review By: George Peden, CSO Staff Journalist
4/23/08

Let me get this out and upfront Ė Iím a Royal Wade Kimes fan. A big one. His music brings a gritty approval for those who rode the rough and lonely trails and lived the bedroll existence of bygone times. His music comes honestly, stylishly and sincerely. Forget the image-makers; pass on the gloss and glamour of the CMT dream weavers, hook up with a guy who not only has outlaw blood in his veins, but carries, deeply, a passion for cowboys and their brand of campfire music.

Kimes, "please call me Wade", isnít about the shuffle of modern, chart-seeking country; heís more in the Billy Joe Shaver and Chris Wall story-telling mold Ė the music comes from his heart, built around strong characters with strong lives and stronger wills. Itís a life known well to this direct descendant of Ozark mountain bank bandits.

As he told one interviewer, "Iíve always been a cowboy. I donít ever remember not weariní cowboy boots, and I rodeod for years. I rode with old-timers," tells the singer and songwriter with eight albums in his growing catalogue, "golly, when I was a boy, they were 70 years old then. I rode for years with themÖ"

Kimesí latest release, How The West Was Sung, is a must for the collection. For this modern day cowboy, jewelry designer and author these tracks, all mainly self-written, are a cavalcade of crooked lawyers, envious black hats, hanging judges, jaded romances, border towns and musty cantinas and, buried into the mix, the prevailing virtue of the good guy who saves the day. Itís a sharp, determined and image-rich blend Ė just like the man who wrote them

For Kimes, the former car salesman and onetime ranch hand for Loretta Lynne, cowboy music, the real country and western variety, is fashioned from his love of the cowboy way. He knows his stuff, and he shares it with crafted passion and conviction.

The real joy of a Wade Kimes album is not only in his rich and mellow tones, but also in the stories painted. Across this album, a best of, Kimes delivers some gems. The current international radio hotshot "Faster Gun" is a proof in point. The track brings to life the dangers facing the wayward cowboy Ė a faster gun is always just around the bend. "Lonesome Cowboy", "On The Border", a tale of a noon day hanginí where a an outlaw, Cherokee Bill, stands on an old trapdoor and after looking skyward mutters, "Itís a good day to die," and the thought-invoking " Where Have All The Cowboys Gone" are tracks etched in trail dust. "Cowboys" could almost be the albumís signature tune, as it laments the matinee idol of Saturdayís past who are not around today. It a loss some of us mourn.

In this day of downloadable technology where a track is a click away, making it as disposable as it is accessible Kimes is someone who doesnít fit in. He doesnít toe the line, dependant on sales and image to ensure his future. Heís his own man. Itís been a hard road. It's a road that saw him walk from possible commercial success with a major label because he "didn't like what he saw, felt and knew." Ask him and Iím sure heíd agree it was the wisest of moves.

Like I said, Iím a Royal Wade Kimes fan.

How The West Was Sung is a must-have for those who love the saddle and the good, bad and uneasy times of the cowboy life. Itís for those who delight in a flickering campfire, a worn guitar and a tale that in times gone would have come fixed to a treeÖa tree with a poster in bold etched letters spelling REWARD.

The album, out on Wonderment Records, comes with 16 tracks, including a new cut, "Apache Kid". 

Related Links:   
Official Website
MySpace  

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