September 14, 2012 @
The Waverley Hotel, Cumberland
Kim Churchill plays a guitar with the busiest of fingers and the rhythm of a master, and who sings lyrics too enigmatic to believe they came from someone so young. He is joined on this tour by Guro von Germeten.
He’s a true blue Aussie who is just 21; a surfer with a connection to the sea that spills out in his performances, even when he’s a long, long way from the beach. And he’s a reminder to us all that choosing what’s in your heart is better than choosing what’s in your head.
During the midst of his Canadian tour and sitting curbside, shoeless and in the shade away from a piercing sun, he speaks openly as his feet rub the dirt and filth of the street. He first picked up a guitar at the age of 4. “Or so I’m told.” He says. “I can’t remember this, but I guess when I saw my mother play, inspiration just happened.” His father couldn’t ignore the potential he saw in his son and enrolled him in classical guitar lessons at age 6. Kim admits to hating classical instruction, often bargaining grades for new instruments. “My dad would say if you get an A in this next class, I’ll get you a new Fender guitar, so I would put in two hours in the morning, grab my board, catch a few waves, and make the school bus by 8:30, then practice again after school. It took me a few tries, but I ended up getting an A, and I got the new Fender.”
That obvious work ethic and years of practice, together with an indescribable talent are displayed thanks to the wonders of YouTube in a clip of Kim sitting in a workshop. With guitar in lap, a surfboard and photo of his idol, Bob Dylan, behind him, the viewer can witness the magic in his hands as they literally dance all over the instrument. They bang, tap, flutter and pick at the strings with purpose and precision. It’s easy to get hypnotized by his hands, and thus to become lost in the sound and the soul of the music.
Kim doesn’t just show up and play his music. He takes the time to explain his songs, he takes the time to thank the crowd and he pauses to inhale the manifestation of his dream. In an age full of self-centered performers who consider fanfare a right and not a privilege, Kim is a breath of fresh air. Will he grow cold from the gig and start to play his songs just for the money? Who knows, but the greatest reason for hope that Kim won’t follow a long list of burnt out performers is his connection to the sea, which he can use like an ace up the sleeve. It’s that union with nature that will ground him, it’s a bond that may protect him from the vultures, prevent him from following and instead give him the confidence to lead.
Opening for Kim on this tour is Guro von Germeten. Kaizer Orchestras creepy little sister, a female Tom Waits, Kurt Weill’s great grandchild, Kate Bush on Piaf- pills or the woman that brings a blush to Stephen King face: the Norwegian singer Guro von Germeten, and her little red accordion, stands out as delightfully burlesque with melodic boldness and French Second World War-ambiance. Her music never lacks passion, nor decadence, and her classically trained «crying cat in the night-voice» brings you every song, as was it her last in life; screaming, whispering or just by sounding extremely beautifully, all with a twist of Balkan beats, Circus jazz and a touch of Film noir. Remember: it is all about having Bad Dreams and Good Nightmares.