With a hot new single Stumble in the Dark under her belt Sal Kimber and the Rollin’ Wheel pull into town for a show at the Mullumbimby Ex-Services.
Okay, everyone says it, it’s been around for yonks now, but in your view what the hell is Alt Country and do people who don’t like Country like Alt? How is it different and how is it the same?
Oh yes, that’s a funny one. I think essentially the root of country music was/is music that shares a sense of place and community. Essentially it is folk music. At the moment Australian country music is almost pop music, and it has a definite formula. I think Alt Country allows artists to step outside that formula, allows you space to move. We are called Alt Country, but I think we are folk, at times rock, at times indie; the Alt Country tag just makes it easier for the person writing the festival guide to describe you!
Why the banjo? What does it bring to the stage that a normal guitar just can’t?
I started playing banjo before it became an accepted instrument. Truly, I think it has become quite a cool thing now, but back when I started it was seen as a rather daggy instrument to play. One of my best friends taught me how to play on his back porch – very cliche – he taught me some very hick bluegrass rolls and over time I have developed my own technique and sound.
The accordion is another instrument once relegated to street parades and played by blokes in kilts. Why do you think it was so misunderstood; what places can the accordion take you as a musician?
Buffy, my sister in the band, who plays keys and accordion, has a similar story to mine: a friend taught her some gypsy tunes back in the day, and she adapted her own way of playing. It means that Buffy can jump off the stage and jam without being plugged in, which is perfect for campfire and after-gig singalongs.
You are awesome at Yearning. Why do you think Yearning is so more evocative than Getting?
Oh, thank you. There is a lot more room, depth and space to play with lyrically and musically when it comes to yearning. One just needs to remember to come back from that space once you have finished writing and playing or it can be rather dangerous; I swear I was lot better at relationships before I started listening to Lucinda Williams (only joking… sorta).
What was it about the combo for Rollin’ Wheel that has made it such a perfect fit for you?
Our lineup has changed a little over the last couple of years, but our core has remained – Buff, Cat and I, which has allowed for trust to build – on and off stage. I guess that’s why I called the band The Rollin’ Wheel, as I knew things would evolve and change over time but the core intention and values stay the same: make sure the journey is authentic and make sure we keep inspired… Catty (our drummer) is a little like our hurricane lantern, on and off stage, and Buffy is our fun and daggy time machine. We have had some gorgeous guitarists and bass players come into the band and it’s a pretty cool thing creating music with people you respect and love.
What should we expect for your Mullum show?
A killer lady drummer, two daggy sisters, two handsome talented lads and some honest yearning, at times playful, at times rocking out, at times reflective, Alt Country!
Friday at the Mullum Ex-Services at 7.30pm.