CHARMING- Singer/songwriter Kim Wempe

Wempe wields ‘modern folk with a timeless sound’

Singer Kim Wempe brings her tremendous knack for expressing herself through music to The Matchbox Nov. 12.

Doors open at 7 p.m. with showtime set for 7:30 p.m.

Her compelling latest disc, Painting With Tides offers listeners a powerful collection of tune and comes on the heels of her win for 2010 East Coast Music Award for Rising Star of the Year.

A love for music was sparked early on, as Wempe recalls her dad playing guitar around the house. As a youngster, she was also ready to belt out a tune here and there as well.

In Gr. 8, music class brought her the chance to really hone her skills on guitar and her gift for music truly surfaced from there.

A knack for songwriting was also soon to follow. “As soon as I picked up the guitar, I thought I should start writing my own songs, too,” explains Wempe, who just wrapped up a touring stint in the northeastern U.S. before heading out to western Canada.

As for the new CD, there is plenty for listeners to enjoy. Opening cut Chameleon uses a dream as a metaphor for the world, the music biz and the way Wempe connects to it all.

“I chose Chameleon as the first song because I wanted the album to start boldly,” she says.

“I think it sets up the album well – it lays out my tenacity but also my values. Chameleon is a way for me to introduce myself to the audience – the foundations of me, what I do and what I stand for. The rest of the album takes you through the layers.”

Other standouts include the lovely authenticity of Roots and The Grave.

Runnin’ resonates with an attractive and subtle urgency, while Waves of Colour offers a rich tapestry of seamless acoustic sounds. Rhythm of the Road also continues to reveal how at home Wempe is in this particular genre.

No matter the mood or timing of a given piece, Wempe’s warm, silky and expressive voice is always the centrepiece.

Born in Saskatchewan, Wempe later called Alberta home for a bit, studying music at Red Deer College before settling on the east coast in 2007.

She now lives in Antigonish, Nova Scotia and says the creative atmosphere, not to mention the natural beauty of the location, provides reams of inspiration.

“I instantly fit into the music scene,” she says. “The singer/songwriter and folk genre is very respected out there, and everyone is helpful and supportive of each other.”

Her first disc, Where I Need to Be was released last year.

Shortly thereafter, recognition of her skills began to take shape quite rapidly. Highlights over the past while have included a stopover at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and Junofest in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

She also landed a deal with Halifax label Groundswell Music.

Ultimately, Wempe says the haunting title track from Painting with Tides is where it all started.

“The idea is that by changing my view on things and choosing who I surround myself with, I could become a better person and be happier,” she says. “We don’t really have a lot of control over anything, but this we do,” she adds. “My mom taught me that. It just took me eight years to finally get what she was talking about.”

Tickets for Wempe’s show are available at The Matchbox or by calling 403-341-6500.

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