Kim Richey. Vanguard.
Kim Richey has penned hits for Nashville stars such as Trisha Yearwood and Radney Foster, but her own albums tend to get overlooked. Recorded in London with producer Giles Martin (son of Beatles producer George Martin), Chinese Boxes is a luminous pop gem that sets Richey's melancholy voice against lovely pastel backdrops featuring everything from harpsichords to buzzing electric guitars. But don't be fooled by the pleasant trappings: "Something to Say" and "Absence of Your Company" tell downcast romantic tales, minus promises of satisfaction. When Richey exclaims, "I want a love that makes me want to weep," her longing could break your heart.