Kimberlee is ready to sing your sorrows away.
The Daily Californian
The antidote to your pain is in Kimberlee's words
Groove Lines By J. Michael Rivera
You know what bugs me? When Im having a bad day, week or year and a well-meaning person comes up to me and reduces my self-absorbed angst to bumper-sticker philosophy.
"Stuff Happens." "Turn that frown upside down, and smile." "No worries, bro." "Lighten up." And the phrase that defined a decade, "Have a nice day."
Its enough to make me follow the example of Leonard Zelig. You remember him, dont you? Hes the title character in a Woody Allen film who beat up a man who wished him a good day. Apparently, Zelig felt the matter of it being a good day was subject to interpretation.
Since assaulting those who dont agree with your world view is bad form these days, there isnt much to do but squeeze those cliched lemons into your fanciest pitcher and serve lemonade to the suffering among you say, by the healing power of music.
Bay Area native Kimberlee, who performs Friday at the Salinas Valley Fair, has made it her lifes work to use her punchy, soulful voice and melodious guitar to heal herself and others around her.
"As an 8-year-old, I watched a PBS documentary about Ethiopia," she said Sunday during a phone conversation from her home in Southern California. "I remember believing that through music, I could make a difference in the world."
Her musical roots run deep. Her maternal grandfather performed in Nashville. A cousin plays drums for country music legend Charlie Daniels. And her brother, Chad, 26, played on her 1999 release, "Learning How To Love," and an upcoming release, "What Am I Gonna Do?"
The upcoming release is produced by R&B recording legend Paul Laurence, who produced music by Stephanie Mills and Smokey Robinson.
In "Learning How To Love," Kimberlee displays her emotional wares before her listeners drugs, the bar scene, a high school break-up, even meeting her biological father.
But she doesnt leave her listening audience stranded in the negative netherworld. Instead, Kimberlee takes a different tack and spreads a message of loving ones enemies, having patience and breaking bad patterns.
In her song "Love Never Fails," she all but proselytizes on the virtues of love. "Self is not the collective/Pride sustains the victim within/Freedoms found in forgiveness/Unlock yourself and be a witness."
In "Love Your Enemy," Kimberlee goes so far as to proclaim "You can love your enemy/You can heap some burning coals on their head and set them free."
This line is a reference to a passage in the Bible, where the apostle Paul encouraged the church at Rome to return evil with good. (Romans 12:20)
Her references to God, Jesus, and other Christian themes may turn off some listeners, but she doesnt spend her time using her faith as barb to poke the listeners conscience.
She spends her time gently and poetically telling the listener about pain she has suffered, and how her faith has been a part of the healing. And that deep, soulful voice goes down oh, so smoothly.
Before Sept. 11, such references might have produced a mild public outcry, but most people these days seem content to take, and allow others to take, comfort wherever it may be found.
So before someones son beats up your honor roll student and unleashes your mother-in-law who is in your trunk, smile, and have a nice day.
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