Happy New Year to you all! Hoping 2010 will be even more musically inspiring.

Well, so far, we’ve been really pleased with how the album has been received and long may this continue. Since I last posted, the album has received further airplay on BBC Radio Scotland (the Iain Anderson Show & Travelling Folk) and on BBC Radio Leicestershire (Celtic Fringe) and thanks to Martell Maxwell who also mentioned the album in her column in the Scottish Sun.

There’s a host of January dates coming up starting tonight in Glasgow, but also taking in Dunfermline, Edinburgh, Aberdeen (twice) and Inverness so hopefully I/we’ll see some of you at one of them. I’m in the process of organising some dates further afield for later in the year so will of course let you know, as and when dates are confirmed.

The album is now for sale from Coda Records on the Mound in Edinburgh and can also be downloaded from iTunes, Napster & Amazon .mp3, as well as www.simonkempston.co.uk and of course, directly from me, at all upcoming gigs. Further distribution channels will also be confirmed in due course.

Not one for being idle, work on the second album is well underway…

All the best.

SK x

Simon Kempston – Carefree Prisoner (Self-Portrait Records)

There’s a lightness of touch to this vocal delivery that instantly brings Nick Drake to mind – but that’s where any easy comparisons begin and end. This collection of 12 songs penned by the classically trained Dundonian – delicately beautiful melodies, strikingly politicised lyrics – is transformed by Adam Nash’s arrangements which set Kempston’s voice and intricately picked guitar against finely woven backdrops of violin and cello. Sometimes the strings push the songs in the direction of Celtic folk music (the luscious ..Galway..); sometimes they have the driving force of a small chamber group tackling the work of Steve Reich or Philip Glass (Ladies’ Lookout, Mad Dog). Percussion remains minimal, only really coming to the fore to provide a heartbeat for the rousing Barricade and the military tautness of The Bleeding Mile. The result is so unique, so consistent, so complete that Carefree Prisoner sounds more like a unified song cycle than what normally passes for a singer-songwriter’s latest album.

Alan Morrison