Kim Tibbs - Kim (2017)

Kim Tibbs
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Kim Tibbs - Kim

The first question you’re tempted to ask when viewing the laundry list of affiliations and professional music connection on keyboardist and singer/songwriter Kim Tibbs’ resume is, ‘who didn’t she work with?’ The list of people with whom Tibbs has collaborated is so extensive that it seems that she is six degrees separated from anyone who has made music in the last 30 years. Frankly, it’s easier to outline the genres and subgenres that Tibbs has touched throughout her career, or to look at her biography and see how her upbringing and education in church and school brought her to this point – the Aug. 25 release her debut album Kim on Expansion Records.

Kim Tibbs - Kim

The first question you’re tempted to ask when viewing the laundry list of affiliations and professional music connection on keyboardist and singer/songwriter Kim Tibbs’ resume is, ‘who didn’t she work with?’ The list of people with whom Tibbs has collaborated is so extensive that it seems that she is six degrees separated from anyone who has made music in the last 30 years. Frankly, it’s easier to outline the genres and subgenres that Tibbs has touched throughout her career, or to look at her biography and see how her upbringing and education in church and school brought her to this point – the Aug. 25 release her debut album Kim on Expansion Records.

The Huntsville, Ala. native’s story is a familiar one that begins in the church. Her late father, the Rev. Robert L. Tibbs, was a Hammond organ playing Baptist preacher.  His daughter first sat down in front of the keyboard at age two, and was playing in church by kindergarten. That work in the church allowed Tibbs to hone a skill that took her Nashville, Muscle Shoals and points around the world. It’s why a host of instrument companies, including Hammond Organ, USA tapped her to endorse their products.

Tibbs’ comfort and affinity with the gospel infused soul and blues of Muscle Shoals, the influence of her time working with the legendary Hi records horn section, and those years playing in the church can be heard throughout Kim. That is especially true on the album’s slow and mid-tempo tunes that serve as an ideal vehicle for Tibbs’ rangy and emotive vocal instrument.  

Tibbs shines on Kim’s slow numbers, such as the stripped-down blues tune “Come On By,” a torchy number that features Tibbs wrapping her voice around lyrics that speak of the ache she feels for her absent lover. The track features gospel infused backing harmonies, blues inspired guitar work and Tibbs’ soulful and nuanced work on the keys. “For” is a more of a straight ahead R&B ballad that finds the vocalist sliding into a cooing, seductive vocal delivery that sets the stage for a night of romance. The track features a smooth bass line that harkens to 1980s quiet storm slow jam.

Tibbs fully embraces her church roots on the inspirational number “Building That’ll Last.” The song has a biographical feel as Tibbs honors those who encouraged and supported her when others expressed doubt, while the steppers cut “I Need You For Your Love”  sports the ever present  Memphis styled horns, along with Motown influenced backing vocals and a thumping bass line.  

“Drifting,” a number on which Tibbs lets her man know that she is moving out of his orbit, is a track soaked in 70s style funk, from the thumping bass, percussion that  references BT Express and those ever present Memphis horns. Kim is Tibbs debut album, but musically this is far from her first rodeo. Tibbs has more than 30 years of experience from her childhood until now and she puts that knowledge to good use on this recording. And fans, old and new, are the beneficiaries. Recommended.

By Howard Dukes

 

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