Simon Kempston is ‘one of Scotland’s best songwriters’ (The Sunday Herald) and leading fingerstyle guitarists. Simon’s original, distinctive guitar playing is founded upon a complex, finger-picking style which technically reveals his classical training yet is steeped in the history of the folk, blues and celtic traditions and is complemented by Simon’s rich, powerful and compelling clipped vocal style.
An award-winning songwriter and an inspiring, poetic lyricist, Simon’s songs are amongst the most thought-provoking you are likely to hear, often sidestepping the usual themes of love and attraction in favour of offering social commentary and an insight into the everyday lives of people. His love of Celtic landscape coupled with his travels abroad, particularly in Eastern Europe, have also influenced many of his lyrics. Fascinations with architecture and English literature from a young age have created a distinct and unique lyrical style.
Simon is a powerful and intense live performer, and his true passion for music and song shines through in his acclaimed shows. He has performed at scores of esteemed venues and festivals in 27 European countries and Canada, including the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (sell-out shows in 2010, 2011 & 2013 – 2017), Ronnie Scott’s, Celtic Connections, Sligo Live and Fairport Convention’s Cropredy Festival amongst many others. Simon has also performed live on BBC Radio Stations across the UK, as well as a plethora of continental music radio stations.
Simon’s first full-length album ‘Carefree Prisoner’ was released in 2009 to rave reviews nationwide by the music press and radio stations alike. Five further successful and acclaimed albums later, Simon has embraced a range of different instrumentation and styles, whilst retaining his undeniable gift for creating songs of the highest quality. Simon has also released three albums of instrumental guitar pieces, atmospheric offerings influenced heavily by his classical guitar training but also blending the folk-blues-baroque style for which he has become known, and has also recorded under the name ‘Man Gone Missing’, an alternative blues act with which he has composed, recorded and released two critically acclaimed albums.
Simon’s latest album, which sees him reignite his relationship with Ian McCalman as producer is his best, most poetic, most diverse and engaging collection of songs yet. The album is entitled ‘Vanishing Act’ and was released in January 2017, and features superb, complementing instrumentation from Adam Sutherland, William Archibald and Bob Miller. Simon’s sheer talent for songwriting of the highest order shines through on, and have justifiably seen his talent frequently compared with amongst others John Martyn, Nick Drake and Bert Jansch. Never one to rest on his laurels, in early 2018 Simon released his third guitar instrumental album ‘Onwards She Travels’, but his first on a major scale.
Immerse yourself in the soundscape of this incredibly talented performer and allow his beautifully crafted folk-tinged songs to transport you on a uniquely Scottish journey.