Kimmie Rhodes is a native Texan who grew up in Lubbock, Texas and began her singing career at the age of six with her family gospel trio. She moved to Austin in 1979, where she met DJ and producer Joe Gracey, an instrumental figure in the Austin progressive country scene who she eventually married. In 1981 she recorded her first album, Kimmie Rhodes and the Jackalope Brothers when Willie Nelson invited her to use his studio. In 1985 she recorded her second album, Man In the Moon. Her third album Angels Get The Blues, recorded at the original Sun Studio in Memphis, was released in 1989. These records led to a series of British and European tours which received rave reviews.
Her promotional tours created a solid fan base in the U.K. and Europe. She has headlined with her band at festivals in Canada, The United Kingdom, Germany, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands and has appeared on many European and American TV and radio broadcasts. She has also appeared at many of Willie's Farm Aid concerts and July 4th Picnics. Willie says Kimmie is "an undiscovered superstar" and together they recorded two of her originals for his album Just One Love.
Kimmie recently appeared on Austin City Limits with Emmylou Harris, Dave Mathews, Patty Griffin, and Buddy & Judy Miller, where she and Emmylou performed their Grammy-nominee song "Ordinary Heart" (nominated for Best Female Country Vocal). She has also guested on Late Night With David Letterman, performing "West Texas Heaven" at his request. Kimmie's TV appearances also include a songwriter "guitar pull" Austin City Limits show with Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Billy Joe Shaver as well as two episodes of The Nashville Network's "Legend Series" hosted by Willie Nelson and another hosted by Waylon Jennings. Waylon said, "When I hear Kimmie sing it makes me know what the phrase 'pulling on your heart strings' means."
Kimmie's songs have been recorded by such stellar acts as Willie Nelson, Wynonna Judd, Trisha Yearwood, Amy Grant, CeCe Winans, Joe Ely, John Farnham, Waylon Jennings and Peter Frampton. Kimmie co-wrote a song, "Lines", with Waylon for his Justice release "Right For The Time". Kimmie's movie soundtrack credits include "A Heart That's True" for the "Babe: A Pig in
the City" CD, "I'm Not An Angel" featured in the soundtrack of "Mrs. Winterbourne" starring Shirley MacLaine and Ricki Lake and a song in the "Daddy's Dyin' Who's Got the Will" soundtrack. Her song, "Shine All Your Light", co-written with Beth Nielson Chapman, was recorded by Amy Grant for the Touched By An Angel TV series soundtrack and CD, which reached the Top Ten in Billboard's CD charts. She recently co-wrote "Ordinary Heart" with Emmylou Harris and the song was featured in the soundtrack to the movie "Happy Texas". Emmylou's performance of the song was nominated for a Grammy.
Kimmie's 1996 CD West Texas Heaven features 12 of her original songs and includes duets with Waylon Jennings, Townes Van Zandt and Willie Nelson. USA Today says, "listening to West Texas Heaven is like a sweet unhurried ramble through bluebonnets", picking the album for their "Best Bets" section. In December, USA Today picked the CD as one of the Top Ten Country Records of 1996.
Kimmie's 1998 CD release is a compilation of original songs from her first three albums called Jackalopes, Moons & Angels. This Jackalope Records CD marks the first time these songs have been available on CD in one collection.
Kimmie 2000 release was Rich From the Journey (Sunbird), produced by her son Gabe Rhodes. Featuring a guest appearance by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings and performances by such great musicians as Kevin Savigar, the late Jimmy Day and John Gardner, the CD is a brilliant showcase for Kimmie's writing and performing abilities. Appearances promoting that record included the Victoria Folk Roots Festival, Calgary Folk Festival, and Edmonton Folk Festival in Canada followed by the prestigious Tønder Festival in Denmark.
A playwright and actress as well, her debut theatrical project was the writing and 1998 workshop production of her musical, Small Town Girl. Directed by and starring Joe Sears of "Greater Tuna", the play was staged in Willie Nelson's western town movie set (Luck, Texas). She and Joe Sears have now written and produced a new musical review called Hillbilly Heaven in Luck and in Cody, Wyoming. They are in the process of writing and recording songs and the script for their newest play, Doing God's Chores, featuring all original songs, to debut in 2004. She is currently working with Sears as Musical Director for his outdoor drama production of Trail of Tears for the Cherokee Heritage Center.
Another recent project is the Sunbird Press novella/cookbook, The Amazing Afterlife of Zimmerman Fees, a story by Kimmie with recipes by Joe Gracey and Kimmie.
In 2002, Kimmie released Love Me Like A Song (Sunbird). The CD features duets with Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Beth Neilsen Chapman, and Heartbreaker keyboardist Benmont Tench. Players inlcude Willie, Benmont, Gary Nicholson, Kevin Savigar, Floyd Domino, John Gardner, and producer Gabe Rhodes. An adventurous journey with all new Kimmie-penned songs, Kimmie once again takes us into new musical waters and the world of her fertile imagination. The CD artwork comes from a series of Kimmie's original oil paintings, prints of which are available on her website. For purchasing information on the originals, contact Austin Galleries.
Her 2003 release is a compilation of duets with Willie Nelson titled "Picture In A Frame". It's their first duet CD, featuring the Tom Waits-penned title track, a brand new Willie song ("It Always Will Be"), five original Kimmie tunes, and classics from Rodney Crowell and Willie. The record includes new recordings of past duets as well as "Rhinestone Highway", a track from Kimmie's unreleased theatrical production soundtrack, Small Town Girl. Recorded at Willie's World Headquarters in Luck, Texas with a small acoustic group, this CD captures Willie and Kimmie at their most intimate and relaxed.
Kimmie lives in Austin and performs with her band which includes husband Joe Gracey on bass, son Gabe Rhodes on lead guitar and Kimmie on acoustic guitar and vocals.