And so, I write, on what is one of the few occasions I spend a few consecutive weeks in my beloved Scotland, to share with you the news of the past few months, and of exciting ventures for the year ahead.
Hard to believe we are now at the end of March, and I have already begun work on the next album in the studio with Ian McCalman once more. Steady progress is being made for the moment, with the present focus on the completion of the guitar tracks – it is important to do the style which I have developed justice, and ensure the complexities and nuances of the notation are not lost – and so, we are taking good time over this. We are using 3 guitars for 16 tracks – I shall post more about the various guitars (several of you have asked about my guitars – well, now is the time to stay tuned!), including pictures in the weeks to come.
Reaction to ‘A Fine Line’ has been amazing, thanks to everyone who has taken the time to listen and to the many kind reviews and exposure that the music press have given the album. There are still one or two to come in, and once I have these, they will all be up on the site in the reviews section for your perusal.
2014 began with a wonderful tour of Switzerland, and this was followed by a duo tour of Germany and the Netherlands, once again with Iain Gordon MacFarlane on fiddle at the end of February/beginning of March. Both were amongst the most successful tours I have undertaken, and I am excited to be heading out on the road once more in April, taking in the East of Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Leichtenstein – dates as ever are listed on the gigs page.
One problem I am now faced is with the requirement for multiple guitars on tour and how to best satisfy this need when I am travelling alone, and without my car. Any helpful suggestions would be most welcome….
Stay safe, and I hope to see you on the road soon.
P.S. Rumours have emerged of a renaissance of ‘Man Gone Missing’ – I can neither confirm nor deny such rumours.
Oh yes, do I have news for you! On Monday the 10th of November my new CD ‘A Fine Line’ will be released-:-). Featuring Iain Gordon Macfarlane, Neil Martin, Eoghan Burke FiaRua & Sebastian Meller and produced by the legendary Ian McCalman. A picture of the master is attached (obviously this is not the artwork!) – the other is with the replication company – . More news to follow soon. SK x
Wow. What a summer it has been so far! I’m not long back from a tour where I performed in 6 countries in 9 days – very hectic & not for the faint-hearted.
I had the privilege of performing at the Tabor International Short Film Festival in Croatia as part of my tour – here is a photo of the stunning medieval Veliki Tabor Castle whose courtyard was the scene for the evening’s music.
Following on from this, I performed in Slovenia, met up with old friends for a performance in Bratislava, Slovakia before a couple of performances in beautiful Vienna before making my way to Germany. That’s five….because I started in Switzerland!
What is the latest news on the album, I have been politely asked by many of you? We will be mastering next week, copies should be in my hand next month. Full launch details to follow, but rest assured this is the finest thing I’ve done & I’m mightily proud of it & of everyone who performed upon it.
There will be a couple of performances at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe also, details here – https://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/music/simon-kempston – I hope a few of my Edinburgh friends & supporters can make it along.
A quiet July is in order to take advantage of the beautiful weather….mmm, actually to finalise the album, but to be honest it is much needed. August sees me in Finland, Estonia & Latvia and ending up in Iceland so it is great to spend some time in sunny Edinburgh.
Lastly, thanks to Beth Wimmer for her fine photography in St. Gallen – here is an example from our shoot in May, I’ll be posting more in due course.
Islay on Saturday, I shall be sure to take it easy on the whisky….
Well, here I am, about to head to the first new country of the year – Liechtenstein.
The road to Liechtenstein has been an exciting one, and has taken me through stunning Swiss scenery & beautiful German sunshine. Having performed already in Baden, Basel, St. Gallen, Zurich & Karlsruhe, I’m over halfway through the journey & have rarely enjoyed a tour so much.
The people everywhere have been great – the concerts have been wonderful and the venues all charming & unique in very different ways.
Here’s a photo of me backstage in Zurich – I was so welcomed they even arranged for Coca-Cola to name the bottle after me….
And a more typical one from onstage in Karlsruhe:
Anyway, looking forward to performing in another, different & new part of this incredible continent tomorrow night!
On the album front, final mixes are shaping up well, we are well on course for a late summer/early autumn release, special thanks to all the guys in the studio who to a man performed brilliantly, and above all to a certain Mr Ian McCalman, whose input is always par excellence.
So, an early night for me as I’m on the early train to Leichtenstein but keep tuned here for more news, I swear I will not wait another 4 months before posting.
All the very best, and thanks for taking the time to read.
Okay, so my New Year’s Resolution should be to update this blog on a more frequent basis. Sadly, the hectic touring & recording schedule doesn’t always allow this but I feel the least I can do is improve on my woeful 2012 effort.
I would like to thank all who have helped me, in any way no matter how small, throughout the course of 2012, which was without any doubt, the most successful & enjoyable year of my career to date. I toured in 15 European countries, my busiest yet, in support of the new album ‘How We Once Were’, which I have been both humbled & delighted by the reaction to.
We are currently arranging numerous dates for 2013, please keep an eye on the gigs page for details & if anyone is able to help in this regard please contact me directly. I am hoping to tour in new countries this year also, and again will ensure that any news I have is posted here first.
In terms of releases, I have just finished recording all my parts for a new album, once more in Kevock Digital Studios with Ian McCalman. 16 songs were worked on, 12 of which will form the basis of a new album to be released later in the year, whilst the remaining 4 will be put onto to a limited edition EP. I’m currently in rehearsals with a variety of musicians at the moment, with a view to them recording their parts over the next few months.
And at last, there are also talks of work on a further limited edition release with long-term collaborator Tom Merritt-Smith (Carefree Prisoner & Impasse).
I will be on the road again in Germany in February and hope to see friends, old & new, then.
All the very best to you all for the coming year.
I’m just back from another great tour of Germany and am getting set for my maiden tour of Portugal….
The reaction to the album has been great, I’m really pleased with it – to those of who have written a kind review or given the album airplay/exposure I thank you greatly.
And to those of you who took the time to buy a copy, again I thank you – your support is much appreciated and I hope you enjoy the album.
Now to prepare for a mammoth few months which includes a two-week holiday in Kazakhstan & Kryrgyzstan as a break between the hard touring.
So long, and I hope to see you on the road soon.
Fresh from my brilliant tour of Finland, Estonia & Lithuania I’m very pleased to announce that my third album ‘How We Once Were’ is out today – now available to puchase from www.simonkempston.co.uk/album/ – there are many other ways to buy the album of course, but please consider buying directly from the website and supporting an independent artist (i.e. me) directly.
As a little taster for you, here is a very new video that Sunny and the brilliant team at Balcony TV Kanuas made on my recent tour of Lithuania – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pn6y0D8ea40 – the song is entitled ‘Careless Interventionist’ and is the first song on the new album. It is a song of reflection, drawing on, though not exclusively about, personal experience of isolation whilst living in London several years ago – I hope you enjoy it, please feel free to leave comments on the video, here or on Facebook.
And of course, all thoughts upon the new album would be very much appreciated.
Hope to see you all at a concert soon – for those of you in Edinburgh, please do consider coming along to one of the Festival shows I shall be participating in – further details here –http://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/music/scottish-songwriters-in-the-round
Well, it has been a little while since I have posted, granted, but I have not been idle! In the interim period I have undertaken my first tour of Finland, Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania! All four countries were fantastic from both a musical and a personal perspective, and it all went so well that I will be back (in Finland, Estonia & Lithuania at least) in July. I concluded the tour with a wonderful few days in the stunning city of Kaunas & the kind gentlemen at Kaunas Acoustics shot this video of me performing ‘To The Wilderness’ in the city – please watch & listen here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbXe1SvpIt4&feature=related. There will be two more instalments so do watch this space!
April saw another performance as part of Edinburgh’s wonderful Ceilidh Culture Festival, my only Scottish gig of late but forages south of the border have seen me appear in Keswick, Devon, at the High Barn in Great Bardfield & the Acoustic Festival of Great Britain in Uttoxeter. I have dates in England this weekend in Didcot, Stafford & a return to the Audlem Festival before departing for a tour of Germany (with an opening date in Switzerland).
In other news, my new album is to be called ‘How We Once Were’ and will be released on the 30th of July. There will be a modest ‘launch night’ in Edinburgh towards the end of June, details & invitations to follow! Pre-orders will be available on this site from the end of June also. The CDs feature bespoke artwork with a full 8-page colour booklet which includes all song lyrics.
On this subject, several people have asked about downloading my songs – to cut a long story short there is no facility to do this at the moment as I am in the process of switching providers – again this will be up and running by the end of June in time for the launch of the new album.
So, the next few weeks are set to be an incredibly exciting time for my music & I – thank you all for reading & for sharing in the journey.
I look forward to seeing you on the road somewhere soon!
All the best,
Well, it’s been a little quiet on the touring front as of late, although the year to date has seen a couple of mini-tours, one of the North of Scotland & the other of the South West of England; which included a support slot to the legendary Dave Swarbrick at the beautiful Bristol Folk House.
This is not without good reason, as I have been very busy in the studio with Ian McCalman putting the final touches to the new album, which I’m happy to say is almost ready to be mastered. Artwork concepts are being worked through & we should have a final product pretty soon, all set for a launch in the late spring, in good time for the busy festival season. I’m honestly not just saying this, but I’m very proud of this record – all the musicians who appear on it sound fantastic & I am of the firm belief that it is the finest record I’ve made yet. And I, of course, very much hope you will all agree.
I’m currently putting together my 2012 touring schedule which in addition to dates all over the UK, will also include return tours to Holland, Germany & Switzerland with hopefully further dates in Austria, Ireland & Slovakia too. And for the first time I shall also be performing in Latvia, Finland & Estonia.
Please keep a close eye on the gigs page, which is changing all the time. I, of course, very much hope to see you all at a show soon.
Very best wishes,
Well 2011 was my busiest year ever, with Scottish highlights including sell-out performances at Ceilidh Culture and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe amongst many performances the length & breadth of the country, successful tours of Ireland, Slovakia, Germany and Holland, and numerous tours of England and Wales including several festival performances.
In November, I undertook an exhausting 8 country tour of Europe spanning the length of November in support of my recently released second album ‘Impasse’ and I rounded off the year with a few more concerts in Holland & Belgium before seeing in the New Year in Muelheim, Germany.
We’re currently hard at work on my third full-length studio album (not including Man Gone Missing releases or ‘The Loss of an Unknown’), to be released in Spring 2012 – the arrangements are sounding fantastic, and with Ian McCalman on the production tiller, the music is not only sounding great, it’s been great fun as well. Please keep an eye on this blog for more information about the release.
Happy New Year, and I very much hope to see you at a gig soon (keep an eye on the gigs page – it’s changing all the time).