Kimmie Rhodes had long been one of the hidden songwriting treasures tucked away in the most intriguing corner of Austin's fertile alt-country scene. And as Lost & Found reveals, Rhodes had a few hidden treasures tucked away in her own back catalog of compositions as well. Not unexpectedly, but no less gratifyingly, this collection of tracks -- recorded between her 1996 breakout LP, West Texas Heaven, and 2003 but left unreleased for a variety of reasons -- demonstrates that even her songs from the cutting-room floor are better than most artists' top-drawer material. But then most writers never had the opportunity to collaborate with Waylon Jennings, as Rhodes did on the winning "Lines," just one of a baker's dozen of classy cuts herein. The majority of these recordings are gentle, back-burner ballads, from hymns as resplendent and ennobling as "The Road to Jubilee" and "Take Me Down," their loose Biblical allusions married to more movingly personal and secular themes, to the graceful, unostentatious testimony of "Heart of a Believer," "Daddy's Heaven," "I'm Not an Angel," and the folk-flavored "Keep Me in Your Grace," songs imbued with faith and quiet, measured devotion. Rhodes mixed the proceedings up with "Catfish Song," piano gospel as clear and ringing as a country stream, the effectively subtle and disturbing "War Prayer," a synth dirge as societal mirror, and the sassy flapper blues of "Born in a Barn." But even these songs are gracious, self-contained, non-judgmental, entirely of a piece. The production is sparse and mostly acoustic, the mix wonderfully cozy. This is an album you want to curl up with, consume a couple glasses of wine to, remember yesterdays, and dream of tomorrows. Heavenly stuff.
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