Well my beloved blog readers, it has certainly been some time indeed, for which I humbly apologise. I have been, as you are no doubt well aware, busy engaging in the touring and promotion of my new album ‘You Can’t Win Every Time‘. It has been an incredibly hectic year, about which I am overwhelmingly thankful after the Covid Droughts, but this time of year does finally offer one the opportunity to pause and reflect.

August, the madness and the chaos of the Edinburgh Festival where I was performing a rigourous schedule of two shows a day, seems so long ago now. Audiences seemed as happy to be back as we were to be performing to them, and the fabulous lunchtime instrumental Songs Without Words show with the wonderfully gifted Paul Tasker was selected as one of the ten musical highlights of the Edinburgh Festival by Edinburgh Live. You can read the full article here – Paul and I were in fine company! And my own solo show was also very well received by audiences and critics alike, receiving an excellent review from the Quinntessential Review which you can read in full here.

This was also the month where another fruitful and inspiring musical collaboration came into being after a chance meeting on Vancovouer Island earlier in the summer, with the multi-talented Canadian folk singer and fiddle player Bronwyn Claire Asha arriving in Auld Reekie. Exhaustive and intensive rehearsals began in earnest to arrange and prepare the new songs for the autumn European Tours, in which we were to present the album as a duo. This was demanding, challenging and time-consuming but ultimately, as our audiences would hopefully testify, worth it – ‘nothing good comes easy‘, if I can be so bold as to paraphrase myself – ;-)!

After three long years in the making, not helped by the rude interruption of lockdown, which forced the whole project to be placed on a reluctant hiatus, I finally released what I believe to be my best album yet (please do let me know if you agree!), ‘You Can’t Win Every Time’ on September the 26th.

I have been so pleased with the reaction, by both audiences and critics alike – an extensive and at times relentless autumn of touring took in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, England, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Audiences responded and reacted really well to the new songs, to the new duo format, to Bronwyn and her own enchanting music, and we were both treated everywhere with kindness and generosity in spades. I cannot express enough my gratitude to the many people who helped us, looked after us, and went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure we felt at home on the road – it is always such an unfathomable pleasure to reconnect and renew old friendships, whilst at the same time forging new ones.

Back to ‘You Can’t Win Every Time‘, and I was further delighted to receive such positive reaction from the printed press in Scotland, from both The Scotsman (read here, a four star review, one more than one of my inspirations Simple Minds who I was to meet the very day the review was published!) and the Herald Scotland, which you can read here (published in the printed press on my birthday!). Last week, Scotland’s pro independence newspaper, The National, also published a feature article focussing on the track ‘A Tale Of Two Unions’, which you can read in full here.

I know, I need to update my reviews page….I will, it’s definitely on my neverending list of things to do, fear not! But for now I’m focussing on beginning 2023 in the best way possible and after much delay, finally releasing the album of classical guitar pieces ‘Moonrise Over Mostar’, which those of you close to me will know has been a real labour of love not to mention a collection of compositions I feel impossibly close to, and I hope will define me in the years to come. This may in part, explain the delay!

You can watch the video for ‘Tblisi Nocturne’ here, one of the pieces which will feature on the album – and please subscribe to the channel here if you haven’t already, it would make this Scottish troubadour very happy.

Thanks for all your support this past year, and I’ll be back on social media (and will repost here for those who don’t do social media) with the Top 10 highlights of 2022 now that the touring year is finally at an end.

Thanks in advance, and love and peace to you all.

SK x

Finally, here at last, my new album ‘You Can’t Win Every Time’, available to purchase on this very website here.

I can’t express how delighted and excited I am to share with you all 13 brand new songs all penned by my own fair hand and featuring the wonderful musical talents of Bob Miller, Lars ‘Rebbe’ Rebbestad, Kirsty Miller, Rory MacDonald and Neil D Mart.

The album is released as a CD only for now, complete with lyrics booklet in a lavish 6-panel sleeve, and all copies purchased from the website shop will be signed, and with a personalised message of your choosing as you wish, please just detail this at checkout.

I am extremely happy with how it looks, and am even more happy with how it sounds, which is, of course, the most important thing. I am currently on tour in Europe presenting the songs for the first ever time, in another first with Canadian folk singer and fiddle platyer extraordinaire Bronwyn Claire, who features in the video for the lead single ‘Impunity’ (which you can watch here – please subscribe to the channel). We are both enjoying immensely the opportunity to present these songs on stage to audiences for the first time, and travel onto Switzerland today after a lovely show yesterday afternoon in Gunzburg.

Hope to hear from you soon and thanks as always for your support.

SK x

Followers and friends, the waiting is over, at long last the video for the first single from the forthcoming album ‘You Can’t Win Every Time’ – ‘Impunity’, can be viewed by clicking here.

Please like and subscribe to the channel, and of course, please share – 🙂! With huge thanks to both Rachael Dudley and Bronwyn Claire for making this possible – we all hope you enjoy both listening and watching.

The new album entitled ‘You Can’t Win Every Time’ shall be released on the 23.09.2022 and will be followed by a two week European Tour in support of the album – #youcantwineverytime

Details on how to purchase will follow soon, thanking you in advance for your support, this album has been a long time in the making and it feels so good to begin sharing it with you all.

Love to you all.

SK x

There are only a handful of opportunities left to see either of my Edinburgh Festival shows this year, it has been great to be back at the Fringe after four years away although with the punishing schedule of two shows a day for 25 days straight, I’m glad we’re nearing the end. Fear not if you’re planning to come along to one of the remaining shows, I’m still feeling energised!

You can pick up tickets to my solo song-based show here – whilst tickets to the instrumental guitar show and Fringe Premiere of ‘Songs Without Words’ with the excellent Paul Tasker can be purchased here

If you’re in Edinburgh and haven’t been down yet, then please do so, have loved all the audiences and appreciated all the support so far but as my song goes, there’s ‘Still So Far To Go’.

Hope to see you a few of you reading this soon!

SK x

Please click here to watch a live version of ‘Broken Before’ filmed at the Slocan Lake Arts Centre, Silverton, British Columbia, June 2022 which will forever serve as a momento of this fantastic tour.

With great thanks to Noel Fudge of Sandhill Studios and the British Columbia Arts Council.

If you haven’t already done so, I’d be really grateful if you could take the time to subscribe to my YouTube Channel here also.

Love and peace to you all.

SK x

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.

After three long years away, it’s finally time to return to Canada, as everyone reading this knows, it’s a favourite tour of mine and I’m extremely excited about this one!!!It will also be the last stop on the ‘Hand On My Heart’ tour – 😉.

This is my most ambitious tour yet taking in Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Alberta and of course, British Columbia, where my love affair with this great country began in 2014.

The tour dates are here, please note there are still dates to be finalised and this is subject to change so please keep checking in, and also with the venues themselves before setting out to a concert.

Really looking forward to catching up with old friends and making a heap of new ones.

See you all soon.

SK x

Having toured and travelled extensively in the Ukraine, Russia and all the countries which border the Ukraine it is truly devastating to witness the horrific events currently taking place there. As those who have seen recent shows of mine will know, I spent some time in Kiev some years ago where I wrote the song ‘I Won’t Take This Chance Again’ from my 2018 album ‘Broken Before‘.

The hospitality and friendliness extended to me by the people of this wonderful country was incredible, and my heart sinks and I find myself wiping tears from my eyes as I try to reconcile my beautiful personal memories with the haunting and harrowing images which dominate our newsfeeds. War is NEVER the answer and I pray with and for the people of the beautiful country of the Ukraine that a peaceful resolution to this needless conflict is swiftly found.

Humankind never seems to learn the lessons from history, and to that extent, here’s a protest song from my latest album written against the very type of megalomaniac behavioural traits and leadership that Putin exhibits – (thanks to John Hurd and the Folk Club Bonn for filming).Peace to you all at this gravely unsettling time in world history.

SK x

Hello there,

As 2022 begins to roll by with the alacrity of previous years, the first concerts of the year are under the belt, and thanks to all the audiences in England and Germany for coming along and reassuring this Scottish troubadour that a return to something approximating normality is on the horizon.

This is shaping up to be a busy year, and all going well, I shall be touring in Scotland (it’s only been three years!), England, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium and Canada (also three years!). I’m plotting a return to the Edinburgh Festival for the first time in four years, bringing a solo show and also a joint guitar instrumental show with Glasgow-based virtuoso Paul Tasker – stand by for more news.

My latest album is being mastered and I hope to have this ready to release for the summer, whilst I’m making slow but steady progress with my promised album of classical guitar pieces, which will also be available at some point this year.

So, it’s a busy year ahead, and I hope to see you all on the road at some point.

Stay safe and healthy.

SK x

Dear my beloved readers,

Ever the optimist, despite 2021 remaining an immensely challenging year for everyone in the music industry, it was undoubtedly better than 2020 (let’s look on the bright side!) – :-). I managed to perform 49 shows in 2021, more than twice what I managed in 2020, so despite cancellations reigning in on me in late November/Decemer, I am more optimistic than I have been at any time since February 2020. Many (and I mean many!) negative coronavirus tests saw me perform in six different European countries and I anticipate next year, for the first time since 2019 I shall perform again in my beloved Scotland and also my first intercontinental dates too, all being well. So without further ado, here are my 10 highlights of 2021:

1 – Releasing the video for my 2nd single from my current album ‘Hand On My Heart in early January which can be viewed here – (don’t forget to subscribe to the channel here please if you haven’t already!).

2 – Receiving a wonderful review from the Scotsman in late January for my current album ‘Hand On My Heart’ which you can read here – (one star more than the Foo Fighters – ;-)!).

3 – The moment in July when I stepped onto a stage for the first time in 2021 at the Aarup singer-songwriter Festival in Denmark. The rain was incessant yet the crowd were formidable – an unforgettable moment to treasure – :-).

4 – 14 shows in 14 days across Germany and Switzerland (the first time there since 2019!) in late August, early September – it was my first tour with public transport there for over half a decade, and everyone was so helpful and supportive as I navigated through the difficulty of the German train strikes. And the tour itself was amazing, so good to be back – :-)!

5 – My first tour in Portugal in 9 years in September, undoubtedly a very special moment indeed, packed with incredible moments which I shall long hold dear (picture below – see my Instagram also for more, follow me here!).

6 – A wonderful mini-tour of northern England in October taking in Sheffield, a favourite spot in the charming Doncaster Brewery and a beautiful new venue in stunning rural Northumberland, the Coquetdale Music Trust. Hope to be back in England more next year with my new show!

7 – My first Dutch show in two years and where better than the brilliant atmosphere of Meneer Frits in Eindhoven, thanks to all involved – :-).

8 – Filming and releasing the preview video for my forthcoming album of original classical guitar pieces which can be viewed here. Stunning camera work by Martin Forry and despite more incessant rain, a real privilege to film in one of Scotland’s great lost architectural treasures.

9 – My 11th annual European tour – although affected by the advance of Covid through the Winter months, many great concerts and nights were still had, and the kindness shown to me by many will long be remembered – :-).

10 – The long hours of practise and in the studio preparing for the next two releases – :-). That’s right, my wonderful friends and followers, you’ve read it here first, there shall be two releases coming next year in 2022, plenty of new music and a new show to present and rehearse. The wheel of creativity is always turning!

I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to anyone who has attended a concert, purchased an album, subscribed to my YouTube Channel or Instagram Page, read my posts and website blogs and written supportive messages and comments. Once again the support has been truly humbling and overwhelming.

Here’s hoping 2022 shall be a more successful and prosperous year for us all – may you all be healthy, wealthy and wise in the year to come.


SK x