Photo and story by Hayden Goodridge / Contributing Writer
On Friday night, friends and fans of Chloe Kimes gathered close in a small, Edison-bulb-lit living room in Murfreesboro to hear the MTSU singer-songwriter perform a spellbinding collection of folk tunes from her newly released EP, “Apothecary.”
The record is an assemblage of tracks written over the past few years but more recently recorded and released with help from her growing gang of producers, directors and bandmates.
“I really wanted to honor the quality of the work I thought I had because of the people who helped me do it,” said Kimes, an MTSU junior and commercial songwriting major. “So, I was working with these really incredible student producers. They were giving me their very best effort.”
While the music on her release puts Kimes at the creative center of the project, she stresses the importance of each person that had a say in its conception.
“I have a whole new appreciation for all of the people studying music business and the people whose jobs revolve around making artists’ careers happen,” Kimes said.
One of such people who pieced together Kimes’ vision was MTSU student Dylan Estes, who hosted and organized the release party for “Apothecary.” Estes was also in charge of designing the visual components for the record, working side-by-side with Kimes to establish its look.
“I don’t think that everybody works cooperatively in the ways Chloe and I did,” Estes said. “I think a lot of photographers give what they want to give, and the musical artist either takes it or leaves it. But, we worked together the entire time to create the album’s visuals.”
Kimes’ intimate musical celebration was put on as a display of appreciation to the supporters of her music but quickly became a shared experience of catharsis channeled through her earnest songwriting. Her acoustic performance was accompanied by Elijah Perron on lead guitar, Adam Becklehimer on upright bass and Lucas Vincent on drums.
The group of musicians played straight through the tracklist of “Apothecary,” weaving jubilant tracks like “Real Good Love” with chilling, ardent ballads of “Time” and “Medicine Man.”
Yet, the most telling moment of the night’s harmonious air came during the performance of Kimes’ song “I’ll Be Going,” which was released as a single earlier this year. At the song’s hook of, “There’s a warm wind blowing, and I’ll be going,” the singer’s warm voice was joined by an unprompted chorus of dreamy-eyed supporters in the audience singing back.
“I haven’t played that many shows where people my age and in my same place of life enjoy my work enough to learn it and remember it alongside with me,” Kimes said, reflecting on the moment. “Having all the voices of the people in the audience come together to create this one big voice … I’m still a little shook from it all.”
After hearing Kimes’ ruminant lyrics, it becomes clear as to why so many in attendance found themselves singing along: Each successive song is rife with relatable, yet singular sentiment.
“I’m pretty transparent about the fact that my songs are very personal,” Kimes said. “I think that when I really connect to an artist, it’s because they’re saying things that I was afraid to say myself. We’re all just stuck on this world experiencing the same things in different capacities. So, that’s where the inspiration for my songwriting comes from.”
As Kimes describes it, this handful of distinct moods also became the inspiration for the project’s enigmatic title, “Apothecary.”
“I had to find out what brought all these songs together,” she said. “Because they were each important to me for different reasons. I saw them as little cures for whatever I was going through at the time each were written. Because of this, I named the record “Apothecary,” which is an old word for a pharmacist, a distributor of these cures. So, in a sense, the record is my personal collection of remedies.”
“Apothecary” is available to stream on Spotify and Apple Music.
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