By Bob Marovich
OLD TIME GOSPEL
Listening to Kimberly Kaye Bachman’s Old Time Gospel EP is like listening to an early Sunday morning radio broadcast emanating from an AM station in her native Iowa. The only thing missing is an encouraging emcee to introduce the singer and the songs. Kimberly does everything on the EP but engineer it; that task is entrusted to Eric Domkowski of Firewheel Audio. Otherwise, she deftly handles the lead vocals, the close country harmonies and plays all of the stringed instruments (guitar, banjo and mandolin).
The track list includes classic hymns as well as Kimberly’s own compositions arranged in the southern gospel tradition. The nineteenth-century hymn “Are You Washed in the Blood” has a Carter Family thrum, while Kimberly’s take on the traditional spiritual “Children Go Where I Send Thee” sounds inspired by country picker Ricky Skaggs’ 1980s-era interpretation.
‘Are You Washed in the Blood,’ Kimberly Kaye, from Old Time Gospel
‘Linger,’ one of Kimberly Kaye’s original songs on Old Time Gospel
The two original songs are heartwarming odes to loss. “Linger” resonates with regret over not spending more time with children and grandparents. Kimberly dedicated “She Saw Me” to her mother, who is in the end stages of Alzheimer’s disease. The song tearfully describes a fleeting moment when the fogginess of her mother’s mind lifted and she could see and speak with clarity. Those who have parents, spouses or friends with Alzheimer’s will empathize with the story.
I kept waiting for Kimberly to take some hot leads on the banjo and mandolin during the instrumental interludes, but she didn’t, though if she had, it would have kicked things up a notch. Nevertheless, Old Time Gospel lives up to its title, a reminder of the days when Sunday mornings hummed with gospel songs sung by local family groups nationwide.
Bob Marovich is a gospel music historian, radio announcer and author. His “Gospel Memories” radio program of vintage black gospel music and artist interviews airs live first Sundays from 3 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. on Chicago’s WLUW 88.7 FM, and streams live at the station’s website. Snippets of recent broadcasts can be heard online at the Gospel Memories Radio Show. Bob is also the founder and editor of The Black Gospel Blog, now the Journal of Gospel Music, the source for the review published here with Bob’s permission. Bob launched JGM on the tenth anniversary of The Black Gospel Blog, which he founded July 28, 2004, as the first blog to cover African American gospel music. His first book, Shout Troubles Over: The Birth of Gospel Music in Chicago, is scheduled for publication in March 2015 by the University of Illinois Press as part of its Music in American Life Series. Bob lives in Chicago with his wife, author Laurel Delaney, and their two cats.