Interview: Sal Kimber

Jenny O’Keefe kept up the great work with a quick catch-up with good friend of Upstream Whispers, Sal Kimber, to hear about Sal Kimber & The Rollin’ Wheel’s new single, out this Friday.

There’s a whisper around the streets that you and the Rollin’ Wheel will be launching your new single at the Workers Club this Saturday – what sort of musical flavour can we expect to get our chops into on the night?

It’s a little indie roots band cliche to say this but we tend to mesh a few genres together – our live shows are pretty playful and we love to share with our audience a bit of everything. It’s a bit of alt country, a bit of rock and roll, a bit of soul, a bit of folk, even a bit of groove. We love to watch the dance floor come alive and we love to tell a story. The other day someone said we are a mix between “The Carter Family and the B52’s”.  Maybe they were referring to our dress sense though!

It’s been a few years since the album Sounds Like Thunder took itself into the ears and hearts of the Melbourne music scene, and I imagine it would be pretty exciting to have something new to offer people. How do you feel about the evolution of your sound over that timeframe?

I started played with The Rollin’ Wheel after I finished recording my last album – three years of festivals and road trips with the same gorgeous line-up has allowed me as a songwriter and us as a band to evolve. It’s allowed us to become more edgy, take risks, find OUR sound essentially, and that adventure will be a constant evolution. I have felt really blessed to have such an ace band playing alongside me. They are all such talented, passionate musicians and close friends of mine. In fact I live with two of the band members (Jacob and my sister Buffy). Half of the album Jacob and I co-wrote in our kitchen over late night pots of tea.

You’ve been recording with an excellent producer who’s worked with some top notch acts and created some beautiful albums – tell us about working with Shane O’Mara.

To be completely honest – we all miss Shane now that the album is completed, we had such a fun adventure with him at Yikesville Studio. He is a very talented dude, he challenged us a lot as musicians and as arrangers and as songwriters to find our sound. I know that sounds a bit clichéd, but it is true – he mentored each of us throughout the recording process, a process which was priceless. Shane is like the daggy big brother in your family – a very fun, charming, warm soul, and all five of us kinda fell in love with him instantly.

When can we expect a full album?

Friday 14th October thru Vitamin records- yay!


WAGONS ‘Rumble, Shake and Tumble’

Reviewed by Marlo Spikin

Wagons’ lead man Henry Wagons freely admits that this album, their fifth studio album, has been birthed from turbulent times: “I’ve been shaken around and bruised, but in the best possible way.”  And Wagons are, of course, a formidable collective and their rumblin’ music is very robust, and there is absolutely no doubt that us listeners will catch them as they tumble!  So fearlessness resounds.

The late-album gem ‘Life’s Too Short’ croons and whistles this perfectly:

“Let it sink in
Have a thick skin
And if it don’t work out
Let those tears dry out
Because life is too too too short”

Exactly.  And at 37 minutes, this album is amazingly not too short.  Their shaking is vast and their rumblin’ and tumblin’ is full-bodied.  Spearheaded by Henry’s muscular voice and fleshed out by backing vocals from half of the all-man line-up, this is outlaw country rock that will have you stomping along with them in an act of resilience.  The sing-songy ‘Save Me’ will leave you lost in the forest with them, with much glee actually.

‘Follow The Leader’ is another distinct moment within the album.  The chorus is assured in inspiring independence but is still not afraid to descend into a damning, aural pit of swirling guitars and guttural wailing.  And it’s a really interesting direction to follow!

The opening tracks ‘Down Low’ and ‘I Blew It’ pulse with a defiance and an earthiness, and Si Francis’ cowbell percussion on the shoulder-shrugging ‘I Blew It’ is brilliant, as is Richard Blaze’ guitar solo.  And the celebration of heroic Willie Nelson is fun and funny as they say:

“Why don’t we tell these guys something special about Willie Nelson?
He likes some salt and pepper with his evening meal”

Contrasting this is the much heart-felt ‘My Daydreams’.  The acoustic guitar intro prepares you for the gentle swell, and carries you through.  Beautiful.  The Wagons’ characteristic honesty about the tumbles of life is a pleasure to listen to.  The blazing ‘Moon Into The Sun’ heralds stunning guitar and an effective, yet modest, percussive lifeline.  Their song-writing is at great heights here, their reach for the positive is inspiring.  There is bravery, while sincerely pleading:

“I need you now like I’ve never needed anyone”

‘Rumble, Shake and Tumble’ has a dark peak right in its middle and it is the searing ‘Love Is Burning’.  The refrain “sizzling, crackling, smoking, fizzling” rings true with voices so deep and fierce they sound like they are coming directly from their stomping, steaming, steel-capped boots!

Yes, fearless.

Check out the new album for yourself here and make sure to get along to Forum Theatre, Melbourne on Saturday 16th July.