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Side on the heart of me

Simon Kempston Simon

Records for Self Portrait

For working musicians, THIS year was a nightmare. Live venue closures for many meant a tragic decline in sales and popularity.

Simon Kempston, the gifted Edinburgh acoustic guitarist and singer, was forced to cancel about 80 shows, which was indeed a bitter blow after a 2019 that he himself describes as “the most amazing and incredible year of my career so far,” including a New Zealand debut tour. Yet, as shown by the arrival of his new album, he refused to let it go.

Working with Ian McCalman, a longtime studio collaborator, he recorded the 12 tracks in one afternoon. As Kempston writes in his sleeve notes, ‘No overdubs, no drop-ins.’

It could be his best album yet (listen to the title track, available on YouTube); No More Evil and The End of It All, with their delicate, beautiful guitar work, are other highlights.

Two new instrumental songs, Onwards She Travels and In Gratitude of Solitude, are also worth watching out for. Kempston is one of those painters who deserves further recognition, Pandemic or not.

The Leadbetter of Russell


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