Inside the jewel case of gospel singer Kim Hinton’s CD, Kim and Him, is a black and white photo of the artist as a toddler in a frilly dress, sitting on her father’s lap.
It is a cool retro photo, but not particularly striking until you realize that the father in the picture is none other than Joe Hinton. Joe dazzled the world as lead singer with the Spirit of Memphis and, later, as the crooner who made Willie Nelson’s “Funny How Time Slips Away” an R&B hit in 1964.
The acorn never falls far from the tree, as they say. On Kim and Him, Kim Hinton performs a variety of gospel songs in an evangelist’s alto at one extreme, and sky-high coloratura soprano notes at the other. Overall, however, Hinton ladles out a pleasant croon, somewhat like her father, but more like Natalie Cole.
The choir backing the Evansville, Indiana resident is exceptional, providing a Hawkins-esque California contemporary sound on “Never Let Go” and “He’s On My Side,” and a churchy Chicago resonance on Malcolm Williams’ “Don’t Judge My Praise.” Speaking of songwriters, the album features compositions not only by Williams but also from the pen of Melvin Crispell, Theodore Gilmore, Robert Wooten and Stormy Cleveland, the legendary James Herndon (“Comfort Me,” another album highlight), and Glouster Williams, himself a gospel legend who does a fine job producing Kim and Him and accompanying on keyboards.
“More Than You’ll Ever Know,” sung with what sounds like a small, serenely comfortable jazz combo, suggests that Hinton's next project ought to be an entire album of gospel songs in this small club style.
Others assisting on the album include popular organist Richard Gibbs (Inez Andrews’ son); Hinton’s sister, Dr. Kandace Hinton; and mother LaVerne, who old-schools a version of E.O. Excell's "I Do, Don't You."
Kim and Him is a solidly produced independent project with plenty of trad cred and contemporary sounds to please the traditionalist and today’s listener alike.
Four of Five Stars
gPod Picks: “Don’t Judge My Praise,” “Comfort Me,” “More Than You’ll Ever Know.”