Kim Churchill’s origins as a young classical guitarist in Australia are further enshrined in the impressive tapestry that is his fascinating musical career as an original artist. The new album, Silence/Win, due for release on April 1, features the kind of punchy vocals and imaginative songwriting that has elevated this artist from the instrumental wow-factor to the songwriter’s grandeur of pure, creative emotion.
For the first time ever, Churchill offered the channels of his inner rumination over to producer Warne Livesey’s masterful ear. An impressive breadth of scope and artistry is featured on Silence/Win, Churchill’s third album, produced last summer in Ucluelet, Vancouver Island. Canada, with its chill surf and cultural mosaic, is this artist’s home away from home. As far as I’m concerned, he’s welcome.
“I’m well-educated in Canada. It feels as much home as Australia. Now, it’s become other places — Mexico or Norway, the southern part of the United States — exciting kind of inspiring adventures.” When asked the most inspiring locale for this oft-globetrotting artist, Churchill responds clearly and directly: Montreal.
“Montreal is such a wonderful explosion of cultures, the music is wonderful. Had some good memories here,” he explains with a nonchalant air, enough to warm any room with the fresh glow of a new creative spark. “There are a lot of exciting things here, though it’s not as beautiful as BC. I would probably go to Tofino or Canmore, for writing — there is the perfect sort of combination of different inspirations.”
Churchill speaks very much as a young artist in love with life, always in search of the next road that leads towards the furthest reaches of possibility, of uninhibited expression. One hears in Silence/Win a vocation to the truth of impermanence that is the traveller’s experience of life, a phenomenon that everyone can understand. “The fact is that I don’t live anywhere, everything’s always changing,” says Churchill. “Australia is my home in many ways, but I’m there for only maybe seven, nine weeks of the year.”
While Silence/Win is a masterful collection of songs with a keen production quality, Churchill speaks of the creative process with humility and candour. “As I was a guitarist first, I write songs based on guitar parts. This time, I relaxed a little bit more and let it be simple, with vocal melodies first,” says Churchill. Listeners can expect a special variety of songwriting from Churchill on the new release, which traverses terrain as diverse as the gently paced serenade to the hard-hitting reggae stomp.
“I’ve often been very pedantic, the same way I used to write guitar parts, trying to be very clever, with very deep songs and deeper layers of metaphor. Here, I just kind of stopped trying so hard. A lot of the lyrics of this album I just pushed record and started playing something on guitar that’s how a lot of the lyrics came about,” says Churchill. “It turned out to be kind of a fun way to write. There’s no point trying to write good lyrics. Write about what you’re really feeling. I have an inkling that that’s where real art begins, when the artist is no more than the medium.”
For anyone whose seen Churchill’s multi-talented live act, Silence/Win is as true as ever to the real thing. And for those yet to merge their sonic pathways with the impeccable fruition of the musical joys of Kim Churchill, the album may be the perfect solution to the beginning of a journey towards such unforgettable sonic travails.
Catch Kim Churchill at the West End Cultural Centre (Winnipeg) on April 6, at the Royal Museum Theatre (Edmonton) on April 11, at the Ironwood Stage & Grill (Calgary) on April 12 and at Festival Hall (Calgary) on April 13.
By Matt Hanson