Meet the Band: Kim Wempe

Kim Wempe is one soulful East Coast girl. Her beautiful folk music has caught the attention of such veterans as Joel Plaskett,  Jenn Grant and Old Man Luedecke — for good reason, too.

Her latest album, Painting With Tides, earned her the Rising Star award at this year's East Coast Music Awards and now it's time for the rest of the country to catch on. If you're into folk music that resonates and hits your soul straight on then Kim Wempe could be your new best friend.

How do you describe your music to someone who hasn't heard you before?
I say it's folk roots but I bring an Adele voice to the I claim it's different than typical folk roots. Actually most of the time, I get shy with this question and just say, "You have to hear me."

If you could open for one current band that you haven't played with before, who would it be?
Deep Dark Woods from Saskatchewan. Love their music and love their tight bluegrass like harmonies.

If you could play one venue you've never played before, what would it be?
It would probably be a festival, the Calgary Folk Festival. It was the very first folk festival I'd ever attended and is where I saw real folk music for the first time. My friends and I went for 7 years in a row before I moved out East. I would mean a lot to me to play that festival.

What would be your all-time, all-star supergroup?
Me (I have to be in it because I need to play with these people!), Greg Allman, Ani Difranco, The Deep Dark Woods, Gillian Welch, and Old Man Luedecke. Oh my.

What was the craziest live show you've ever seen?
Man Man Band. I'm still trying to figure out what happened, how he blessed people with tap water, and how they compose music with the most dissonant chords I've ever heard!

What was the craziest live show you've ever played?
I would say it doesn't ever get to crazy on my end but Evolve Festival in Nova Scotia a couple years ago. I played at 2 in the afternoon and I either woke people up or had the people who had been up all night long on who knows what dancing very crazy to my music. It was odd and fun all at the same time. I probably had a more peculiar experience than that, but I tend to block them out.

What's your favourite song to play live? Why?
It used to be "Oh Heart" and sometimes still is just out of the fact that it moves people so much and I can belt from the bottom of my soul. Recently it has been two of my new songs though...I can't choose. "Martha Barry" or "Come Home My Love, Come Home". Also because they move people and I can belt from the pit of my soul.

What was the first record you ever bought? When was the last time you listened to it?
The first record I purchased on my own with my very own money was Brooks and Dunn, the album with "Maria" on it. I I haven't listened to it since the year I bought it unless I hear "Maria" on the radio.

If you could only listen to one band or artist for the rest of your life, who would you pick?
Ani Difranco because she is inspiring, she has a ton of albums and they are all different. I will need a lot of variety if it's for the rest of my life.

If you could switch places with another musicians in some type of "Freaky Friday" type incident, who would you want it to be?
Judy Collins. I just saw her at the Stan Rogers Folk Festival in Canso, Nova Scotia. I think I would fall over if a voice that could hit that high of a note came out of my mouth! It was like bringing back Joni Mitchell's voice for me...only she's Judy Collins, she's 70, and her voice hasn't aged an inch! Also, I can't even imagine her knowledge after 70 years on stage and in the business.

If you could have one musical superpower, what would you want it to be?
Pick up any instrument and play it. Oh to dream...oh to dream.

Photo: Kim Wempe

Meet The Band is a regular feature where we introduce you to bands we like. You can find all of the rest of them here.


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