I have always had a love for nice acoustic guitar music. I grew up listening to the works of Windham Hill favorites MICHAEL HEDGES and WILLIAM ACKERMAN, and have since discovered the works of PAT METHENY, CHRIS PROCTOR, PHIL KEAGGY and BRUCE COCKBURN. Now, granted... some of these artists don't exclusively record solo acoustic guitar music... but neither does the artist of which I am about to speak.
The artist of whom I speak, is one whom I have spoken of before. KIM SIMPSON is someone whom I have admired for 27 (or so) years. He was a musician that I met, while performing in the Kennedy Junior High band. Kim played bass guitar, I played trombone. Although from an instrumental perspective, we didn't really pair up, we found that our love of music was one and the same. His passion for music was so similar with mine, that for years I lived in the state of mind that ALL people loved music the way we do. For several years, we shared our music with each other. Countless hours were spent watching music videos, listening to records, and talking about all things music.
After graduation from high school, our paths began to separate. Kim began to immerse himself in his guitar playing, while I pursued my life's adventures. I served an LDS mission, Kim continued his schooling (until the time where he, himself, served an LDS mission to (what was then) Yugoslavia. Before leaving, Kim recorded several of the songs that he had written. One of those tapes ended up in my mailbox, while serving as a missionary. I was immediately floored by the maturity of his music, especially that of a song called "A Tang of Seaweed". Although (to my knowledge) that song has not appeared on any of his actual CD releases, I still hold in the same regards as works of musicians that have experienced worldwide success... and all from a young lad of 17 years of age.
After studying at BYU and meeting his wife of (?) years, he packed up family and guitar, and headed to Austin, Texas, where he finished his education, and worked on his musical chops. Kim has since released a plethora of albums, each with it's own unique style. Whether it be solo (original) guitar, his take at Finnish Folk music (a land he has always been fascinated with... and the homeland of his mother), or the multitude of great covers (including an E.P. featuring a cover of a SPARKS song, and XTC piece, as well as a cover of a track by Psychedelic Rock band LOVE). If you go to his website: www.kimsimpson.us you can find information about ALL of his releases, including these great E.P.s, available for free download. Fans of THE BEATLES will enjoy his E.P. featuring two great Beatles' covers.
One thing you can count on with Kim's music, is the fact that you can't count on anything... except that it will sound good. During the middle part of this decade, Kim even took his music to a level by creating a band. THE MAD DUKES released a full length album back in 2006, as well as an E.P., in 2007. This project took Kim from his more familiar Folk roots, into the world of Indie Rock.
And now, the release of which I really intended to speak..."MYSTERY LIGHTS"... is Kim's first release to ONLY feature instrumental guitar. I received a copy of this great album, last week, and I put it on Sunday morning. It was a wonderful soundtrack to a peaceful day. It is the kind of music that works so well for a rainy day. There is nothing like being inside a comfortable place (like home), listening to the drizzle of the rain, accompanied by some peaceful, relaxing guitar music.
Those of you who are fans of the great guitarists that I mentioned at the beginning of this post, this album is for YOU. Well, let's be honest... it's for everyone... but it's especially for you. Melodic, peaceful, serene. It is the perfect soundtrack for a quiet day of introspection. But hey... if you just want to sit and listen to some really good guitar technique? Well, it's ALSO for you.
To me... a person who grew up around Kim... this album is really a full circle. Knowing of Kim's love for the work of Michael Hedges, Bruce Cockburn and Chris Proctor (the latter of whom always triggered a "who?" out of me, until a few years ago, when I was "wowed" by Mr. Proctor's music, and now I KNOW why Kim was always so complimentary of Chris Proctor's talents), it was no surprise to hear that Kim had finally released an album of solo guitar.
Who knows where Kim will turn next? Nobody. I'm certain not even Kim knows that. But, one thing we know for sure... it will have substance not found in most of today's music. Kim is a real musician. His life is music (well, outside of his family). He eats music. He sleeps music. He breaths music. So much, that if you are fortunate enough to live in the Austin area, you can hear his unique musical tastes, on his radio show "THE FOLK BAZAAR", Thursday afternoons on Austin's KOOP community radio station. Or, if that isn't enough, you can check out his music blog: www.boneyardmedia.com. After reading a few posts, you will not only realize that you are dealing with a creative writer... but an individual with truly eclectic tastes.
So, for the love of... well ... good music. Check out Kim's website. Check out his radio show. Check out his blog. You won't regret it. Just don't forget the more simple music related blogs... like mine. Thanks.