I can understand why this album disappoints some of Kim Richey's fans (this is very different from Kim's earlier albums) but I can also understand why other fans love this album - and I am in the second group. Played as background music, all the songs may well sound similar. This album is definitely unsuitable as background music at least until you have played it enough to be familiar with it.
Produced by Bill Bottrell, who has previously with Sheryl Crow and Shelby Lynne among others, this album definitely needs a few plays to be appreciated although Kim sings as good as ever. I have not followed Kim's career closely but I get the impression that she was at a point in her life where there was a lot of uncertainty. Kim spends a lot of time remembering the past and wondering what the future might hold. Most of the songs are slow, reflective ballads with a bluesy feel to them. Kim even sings a song about good memories (The circus song) reflectively, rather than making it into an upbeat, joyful song.
The tempo picks up a little on No judges, which some people interpret as a gospel song. It could be, but then again it could be a simple love song - or just a song about forgiveness. The tempo picks up a little more on the next track, This love. Again some might interpret this as a gospel song (and it contains references to Jerusalem\) Again, it might be but I interpret it as a love song. It's back to normal for this album with Good day here, in which Kim tries to prevent somebody digging up the past, thus potentially spoiling a good day. After two further mellow tracks, the tempo picks up once more for the final track, Cowards in a brave new world, thus ending the album on a cheerful note.
This is a very mellow, often melancholy, album that may not suit everybody but, after a few spins, I quite enjoy it.