Kim Wempe – Painting With Tides

You learn a lot about a performer by taking a quick look through their website. It provides a snapshot of what they’re all about – or it should.

Coinciding with the theme of her full-length debut, Painting With Tides, kimwempe.com is adorned with rich graphics of the sea, ships under sail and a general feeling of the great wide open.

Juxtaposed against this backdrop, brightly-coloured visuals of Saskatchewan wheat fields betray her landlubber status as a child of Huboldt – within spitting distance of Saskatoon. Yet her move to the east coast three years ago has clearly made a huge impact on her.

Nobody knows better than Kim Wempe how similar a feeling you get from the expanse of the sea when compared to a never-ending crop field under a endless sky. It’s a sensation that can make you feel incredibly insignificant in the scheme of things, if not unbearably lonely. And yet the experience makes you feel incredibly alive, revitalized by all the potential it ultimately reveals.

Her newfound home has only amplified her love of where she comes from. As a result, Kim Wempe basks in a perspective of Canada like few of us have enjoyed by age 26, if ever. And you can hear how deep down those roots are set across eleven heartfelt originals comprising the canvas of Painting With Tides.  Some hues and shades hold more true than others while many of these impassioned compositions prove picture-perfect.

Surrounded by like spirits and simpatico musical compatriots, Kim retains her authenticity and a voice all her own as she searches for the right combinations of sounds to add to her palette. She finds them on songs like the autobiographical “Roots” (strangely enough) – which fits her like a glove, joined by veterans Joel Plaskett, Geoff Arsenault and Brian Bourne; the sublime, painterly “Waves of Colour” – surely one of the best tracks – and the intimate, introspective “Warriors”.

At the same time, she’s hardly shy – as “Rhythm Of The Road” underlines with its full-bodied assault and most memorable hook (co-written with Cape Breton’s Carmel Mikol). In addition to Mikol’s harmonic strengths, Rosie MacKenzie’s violin, Old Man Luedecke’s banjo and David Bradshaw’s mandolin coalesce with Thom Swift’s dobro, Dale Murray’s pedal steel and a sturdy cast of friends who contribute an undeniable east coast charm, rendering this disc a late-night friend and a Sunday morning staple.

May the tides keep to their schedules, bringing us even more of their munificent bounty. Wempe has only just begun to blend her colours.

TheFulcrum.ca reviews Painting With Tides

TheReflector.ca reviews Painting With Tides

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