Sometimes, a musician get a chance to get it right the second time around. Pop artist Kimm Rogers migrated from the Midwest to Nashville and LA in the late ‘80s and scored a major label contract, releasing a couple of albums. Dropped after a 1992 release, she left music recording behind for a life in Idaho and New Mexico, finishing college and eventually teaching music to people with disabilities. She joined a band and “began falling in love with music all over again,” and after relocating to Ocean Beach in 2006, she gradually put together a collection of new songs that became her new CD, Where the Pavement Grows.
Rogers sings and handles guitar on the ten original songs, with help from Julian Coryell, who produced and played all the other instruments except drums. The songs vary from steady rockers to quaint folk; “Rain” starts off quiet and pensive, about a love that “came in like a lion and poured out like a waterfall.” Then, perfect slide guitar riffs by Coryell join with picked figures to flesh out a beautiful arrangement. Rogers puts on her rock shoes for “Twenty-Three.” “I remember all those guys with Valvoline hair and Texaco eyes… Who cares if I’m dumb or smart,” which nails her younger days and establishes her undiminished way with a sharp lyric, as this highlight pounds the floorboards.
The pace lightens up with “Gravity,” which is a softer, keyboard-dominated ballad that is a bit overproduced, but still clicks with a message about all of us being in it together here in this life, on this planet – again, Rogers matches a simple, pleasant melody with some clever lyrical word craft. “Change” has an unusual but winning hook that builds on drum and keyboard interplay as Rogers is delivering her tale about how the only thing that she is sure of is uncertainty. The only recording flubs on the disc are heard on “Eventually,” an otherwise solid pop-rocker that for whatever reason badly muffles Rogers’ vocal and gives the other instruments a muddy mix.
The title tune tries for a different ballad feel by isolating Rogers with piano and acoustic guitar to open, and the effort pays off as the variation gives the disc another dimension, registering as a lovely change of pace. The last track is often a spot left for filler tracks, but Rogers places a track that is a highlight and sleeper here: “Star Filled Canopy” has a rock groove, one of the most memorable hooks on the album, and again her lyrics shine. “The universe is big as it is wide/ Enough to hold every tear we’ve cried/ And every hope we ever hope to be.”
It took over two decades for Kimm Rogers to return to recording with Where the Pavement Grows, but the music is fresh and strong, with songs worth the wait.