At the Cobargo Folk Festival in February 2013, Kim Churchill was the recipient of my vicarious joy at this news, and we spontaneously had a chat, leaning on someone’s trailer, outside a venue, out in the open — which was a bit of a mistake because as I now know: don’t try to do these things in a flukey, swirling breeze.
I’m sure you’ll cope. Muggins here did the best he could with the sound balance. [Audio file will be removed by end February 2020.] Interview text:
Bill Quinn: I’m standing here with Kim Churchill. Hello, Kim.
Kim Churchill: Hello, Bill.
BQ: Kim, You’re about to go to America and tour with someone and I’m just a little bit excited about that. Tell me what you’re going to do in America.
KC: I’m going to do the opening slots for a guy named Billy Bragg.
BQ: OH MY GOD!
BQ: How the hell did you jag that one?
KC: Ah, bottle of scotch.
KC: We were sharing an artist transport to the Winnipeg Folk Festival, and we go talking and enjoyed each other’s company for half an hour. And he watched my show and I watched his show.
And I had a bottle of scotch, and we drank the bottle of scotch, and at some point in the evening he said, ‘Hey, you should come and do this tour in the States with me’. Done!
BQ: So that starts middle of March?
KC: Yeah, March 23rd and it goes for eight, nine weeks right across America, and probably six or seven days in Canada as well.
BQ: You’ve done some touring in Canada before, but is this your first real foray into America?
KC: Yeah, I’ve sort of done patches, like I’d go over for a festival or a showcase event or something like that. So yeah, this is definitely my first tour of America – a pretty epic way to start.
BQ: Now, you’re quite a young bloke. Do you sometimes think: Is this actually happening?
KC: Yeah, definitely. It’s the opportunity to just hang out with a person like that, as much as anything, to just soak in a bit of his philosophy on life, what he’s learnt, what he’s seen. And the concept of travelling around in that environment is something that’s hard to believe it’s actually going to happen.
There’s no point worrying about it, because it doesn’t matter where my imagination takes the idea of what’s going to happen; I’m sure it’ll be something completely different.
BQ: Now, as we rub the stars out of our eyes, we can get starry-eyed just talking about you. The first time I met you was at the 2008 Illawarra Folk Festival, and that’s been a long five years: some amazing things have happened. Tell us a bit about that. Paint a word picture of the last five years.
KC: Still in the back of the campervan!
I’ve established fan bases in Japan, and in Canada and across Australia. I’ve released four or five albums. And I haven’t stopped for a second!
BQ: As one who’s double your age and a little bit more and about to do something similar by jumping in a van and cutting off the moorings and heading off, tell me what that’s like to not have a real home base.
KC: It’s very elating, very enlightening, and also I think it forces you to throw yourself in the deep end a little. Because there’s a ridiculous amount of things you suddenly can’t have. And it’s as scary as it is enlightening.
BQ: Between now and [the American tour], what’s happening for you? Have you got dates here in Australia?
KC: Yeah, just mostly festivals now. We’re doing Nannup Music Festival in WA, and Port Fairy Folk, Blue Mountains [Music Festival]. We’re doing a couple of shows in theatres in Melbourne and Fremantle, I think. That’s the next three weeks.
BQ: And you’re going to be plugging the hell out of America!
KC: Yeah, yeah. For me, the opportunity to be in the States and to do so many shows, I’m definitely keen to establish something solid, so that I can go back myself.
BQ: Blaze that trail.
BQ: Kim, make sure you inundate your social media with everything that you’re doing. We wanna hear what you had for breakfast, we wanna hear what Billy had for breakfast, what the band did, we wanna hear it all! So will you do that for us?
KC: Of course! Yes, we will know what Billy had for breakfast every day!
BQ: And you!
KC: Of course, when I get to have breakfast. It’s one of those meals musicians often forget exists.
BQ: About 4pm?
KC: Yes! If that’s breakfast, then I have it every day!
BQ: Kim, thanks for talking with us today.
KC: Thanks, Bill.
Kim’s remaining Australian dates:
Thursday 14 March 2013 — Beav’s Bar, Geelong (Vic)
Friday 15 March 2013 — Thornbury Theatre, Melbourne (Vic)
Saturday 16 to Sunday 17 March 2013 — Blue Mountains Music Festival, Katoomba (NSW)