Kim Richey, “Edgeland” (Yep Roc Records)

Kim Richey has been winning over critics for years, but music buyers have been slower to catch on. On her eighth album, “Edgeland,” she once again demonstrates the range of her talent.

From the delicious opening guitar lick on “The Red Line,” a deceptively simple song about a ride on Chicago’s “L,” Richey shows off her ability to turn mundane details into A-level song craft. The song lifts an ordinary train ride into art in a way that a lot of songwriters try but few pull off.

In Richey’s hands, the effect is dazzling. She puts listeners on the train beside her, though it feels like she’s alone there, lost in thought and discerning observation.

Richey sustains that level of craftsmanship through a dozen new songs, including collaborations with Chuck Prophet, Robyn Hitchcock, Mike Henderson and other Nashville mainstays. She makes the most of terrific ensemble playing, and her old-soul singing conveys sadness and energy all at once.

Those who know Richey’s work will find fresh magic here — songs like “Pin a Rose,” a ballad about lending a sympathetic ear to a heartbroken friend, and “Can’t Let You Go,” another moving Richey anthem. Throughout it all, she matches surprising twists of melody to lyrics that bring fresh wonder to age-old subjects.

For those unfamiliar with Richey’s impressive body of work, “Edgeland” invites a deeper listen. And if it inspires a longer journey back through her entire catalog, that will be a ride worth taking.

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SCOTT STROUD
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