AllMusic Review by Stacia Proefrock:
It is a testament to the fickleness of Nashville that Irene Kelley has sat on two separate stagnant recording contracts for the last few years while farming out her songs for other people to perform. From the first soaring notes of the leading track on her debut album, it is obvious that this woman was meant to sing. Simple Path, originally released on Kelley's own label and now distributed by Madacy Entertainment's Relentless Nashville, makes good use of her voice, pairing it with simple, clean arrangements and Kelley's heart and soul lyrics to produce a winning package. She may not have the pyrotechnics and glitter of many other contemporary country stars, but the substance is there. Aided by an impressive cast of supporting players including Claire Lynch and Kim Richey, the album ranges from the heartbroken resignation that marks "A Little Bluer Than That" and "Pilgrim in the Rain," to the current of feminine strength that runs through "It Wasn't Me" and "Scorns of Time." Listeners with a low tolerance for sentimentality probably shouldn't be listening to country music anyway, but if they find themselves overwhelmed by the deep feelings and explorations of social ills on this recording, they only have to wait a track or two for the mood to change. Irene Kelley travels all over the emotional map on Simple Path, but she lands on a sweet note.