This piece was originally written for the Vernon Morning Star previewing the concert in the Powerhouse Theatre on the 19th of June and is kindly reproduced here with the permission of the author, Deb Matheson.
I caught up with Simon Kempston on a rare sunny day in Edinburgh, Scotland. Although he was busy packing for his upcoming Canadian tour, he graciously took the time to chat with me and share a bit about himself and his music.
Simon was introduced to music early on, starting with piano at the age of 6, and adding classical guitar to his repertoire as early as the age of 7 or 8. While he displayed a natural affinity for classical guitar, he was a somewhat reluctant practitioner, as, around the same time, he also discovered his Dad’s cassette tapes of acts such as Dire Straits, Bruce Springsteen and Roxy Music. Wanting to break away from classical into more modern styles, he begged his guitar teacher, wearing him down until he finally allowed Simon to occasionally slip in a contemporary piece of music. Smart teacher, because this kept Simon interested in many styles, encouraging him to explore applying classical techniques and technical styles to other genres.
Simon has a reputation for being one of Scotland’s best song writers and performers. The musical and lyrical influences on Simon: from the classical guitar stylings of Andres Segovia to traditional Celtic musicians such as Dick Gaughan, popular song writers/musicians David Bowie and Mark Knopfler, and an ear for British pop, Indie and Blues; lend Simon’s music and songs a deep, rich diversity. His lyrics are driven by, as he puts it, “Anything that resonates with me. Something worthy of being told, that I feel needs to be shared.”
During the first COVID lockdown he worked tirelessly writing music and songs. Simon was able to do a few shows in Europe before the second lockdown occurred, when he fine-tuned the songs written earlier and then recorded “Hand on My Heart,” released in late 2020. “Hand on My Heart” is Simon’s 15th recording. His much-anticipated 16th recording, “You Can’t Win Every Time” will be released in late 2022.
Simon is excited about being back on the road promoting his music, and particularly looking forward to once again touring BC. There are many similarities with his beloved Scotland that make him feel at home here. This will be his seventh trip to Canada.
Vernon Folk-Roots Music Society is proud to present an evening with Simon Kempston on Sunday, June 19th. Opening for Simon will be local duo Goose Egg (Gus Hansen & Ellen Campbell). Tickets are $20 in advance, available at Expressions of Time, or $25 at the door. Visit www.simonkempston.co.uk to learn more about Simon and his music.