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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Kimi Hayes

Kimi Hayes Band - Red 14

Review by Lisa Palmeno

Kimi Hayes Band is best known for upbeat pop-flavored girl tunes. Red 14 is a professionally clean recording of the seductively feminine originals that make the band a favorite at festivals and clubs in their hometown, Chicago.

Hayes belts out deep emotions, uses breathy phrasings, and adds texture and color to her alto vibrato. All twelve originals were written and arranged in varying combinations by guitarist Aquino, bandleader Hayes and bassist Paula Marr. The result is a youthful-but-mature collection of pleasant, listenable expressions of the heart.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 2 at

Track by Track Review
Watered Down Whiskey
The tambourine and steady rock refrains comfortably support this soulfully-sung first track.
Take The Pain
"Take The Pain" is a melodic, hopeful outlook on learning life's lessons. Cello mixed with classical guitar techniques give a distant, dreamlike feel just before the echoing back-up vocals carry Hayes to a rich ending.
Red 14
A bluesy harmonica opening and tell-it-like-it-is attitude pay tribute to their Chicago roots as Hayes declares Red 14 is "her drug, her religion" on the ultimately southern-style song about gambling. The title song has definite mainstream country radio appeal.
Don't Replace Me
The country feel of "Red 14" takes a serious turn onto a different avenue with the pensive "Don't Replace Me." A simple, soft plea is offered with songbird sweetness. The depth and brightness of Hayes' voice are showcased in a song that would make good movie break-up music. 
April Rain
"April Rain" is a rock 'n' roll lamentation of lost youth, loneliness and hard realities. The poetic lyrics are the strong suit of this bitter reminiscence.
The band members chime in unison on this droning, spacey time machine of a tune. A curious diversion from previous selections, "Dig" transports the listener into the far out realm.
Never Fade
Technical effects muffle the declarative vocals on "I was there and it was real," creating a surreal feeling. The storyteller confronts a crazy-maker head on and with conviction.
You Move Me
This is a gentle, joyful tune about the confidence created by being loved.
Pretty Lil Thang
Hayes talks about self love and acceptance in a world full of women trying to be "Pretty Lil Thangs" to gain approval. A mock news story about a trend where women decide to accept themselves is interjected mid-song.
Safe At Home
Another social commentary, "Safe At Home" is about hiding homosexual love from the world for safety's sake. She says "there's no harm, no sin, no crime committed in loving this girl."
Do You Believ
The prettiest song on the album, "Do You Believe" questions the concept of the promised land. The use of various lines from patriotic American traditionals is excellent on this slow, thoughtful piece softened by a subtle cello.
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