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All the best: We catch up with singer Kimmie Rhodes

By Kerry McKittrick

The 61-year-old singer and songwriter lives in Austin, Texas, and will be touring Northern Ireland later this month to promote new album, Cowboy Boudoir. She has three grown-up children, Jolie, Gabriel and Jeremy.

My best moment

When I first came to Austin in 1979 I met Joe Gracey. I had been writing songs and learning to play guitar but living on a farm in north Texas. Fate took me to the right person, though, as Joe became my husband, my bass player, my producer and more. He died in 2011, but that first meeting was a magic moment that changed my life — fate picked me up and put me where I was supposed to be.

My best song

Paul McCartney once said that your songs are like your children and it’s not fair to have favourites, but there is a song I wrote called I Just Drove By that opened a lot of doors for me and that fans love.  In terms of others that I love, it’s not so much a song but the record by Bob Dylan, Like A Rolling Stone changed my life. It’s always been a reference point for me on how to make a great record.

My best way to relax

I have a little house in a small village in France so I like to visit for a break. I go there before touring so I can practise songs and catch up with old friends. I can prepare there and I feel more relaxed if I am prepared.

My best job

Before I was a singer-songwriter I was a florist for many years. I was a singer from the age of six so it was never what I wanted to be when I grew up because it’s what I already was. I loved being a florist, though. Even when I was raising my family I could support them by working in a flower shop during the day and then by playing in bands in the evening. It’s a skill that enables you to get a job, no matter what.

My best advice

This advice is on the sleeve of my new record, although there’s a typo on it. The record is dedicated to the legendary ‘Cowboy’ Jack Clement, who was a producer I met when I first went to Nashville. He passed away just over a year ago but he told me that we were in the fun business and if we weren’t having fun then we weren’t doing our job. That is the dedication on the record sleeve but because of the typo it reads ‘If we’re not having fun then we’re doing our job!’

My best gift

The house in France — my husband left it to me when he died, which was right after we had bought it. When I’m in the house it feels like a gift.

My best achievements

To be a woman in the music business and to achieve some success while raising three children. People say I’m an undiscovered superstar but it’s because I opted for a balance of family and career.

My best buy

I have a Mazda Miata back in Texas — it’s a soft-top sports car. Lots of women love to buy shoes but since I bought that car it’s been my best accessory. I also bought a student model of a small Gibson guitar. It’s quite rare and hard to find but I love it.

My best film 

My late husband Joe loved WC Fields and he would put on the film It's A Gift for the whole family, especially when things were tough. It's got lots of inside jokes in it which we've all adopted and we all laugh at it.

My best book

I don’t have a best one because I read everything. I have books for the morning and books for the evening and usually have 10 books on the go simultaneously. I’ve read everything by the psychiatrist Carl Jung, and I’ve read the Bible from cover to cover, too. At the moment I’m reading a lot of books on American music because I’m working on a documentary about it.

  • Kimmie Rhodes’ tour of Northern Ireland will be kicking off on Thursday, March 19, at the Black Box, Belfast. For tickets, dates and to sample the new album go to www.kimmierhodes.com

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