After an epic drive with two very patient small people in the back, we have landed in my home province and found a beautiful place to live in the Annapolis Valley, NS. Most of my time recently has been spent wondering where the day went, in a jumble of baby toys and long drawn-out attempts to get outside. I will, however, have enough time in the new year to take on a few banjo students. So, here's my ad, for all you Wolfville, Gaspereau, New Minas, Kentville, Canning area budding banjoists:
Clawhammer/Frailing/Old-Time banjo teacher taking students starting January 2014. Located in Canning, NS.
Touring and recording artist Kim Barlow has recently moved to the Annapolis Valley and has a great deal of experience performing and teaching clawhammer/old-time banjo.
As a Performer:
~ Recorded 6 solo albums, including Humminah, and Juno-nominated Gingerbread;
~ Has toured past 15 years in Canada, Australia and Europe;
~ Collaborated on projects with Mathias Kom (of the Burning Hell), Old Man Luedecke, Annie Lou (Juno nominated string-band), Catherine MacLellan, and many others.
I arrived in the Yukon 20 years ago, shy and nerdy, fresh out of music school. I honed my banjo chops around many campfires, and found myself on stage with increasing regularity, thanks to this nurturing and vibrant music scene. Twenty years later, look: I wrote a pile of songs and recorded Humminah, Gingerbread, luckyburden, and Champ; I’ve toured all over Canada countless times and played some of the biggest festivals and grandest stages. I’ve toured in Europe and Australia, and been nominated for several Western Canadian Music Awards and the Junos, twice! I have played and toured with many of my heroes, and just generally had a great time playing music. I truly doubt that any of this would have happened in quite the same way without the support and opportunities I was given here in this crazy, brilliant northern town.
Now it’s time to go back to my other home, and on October 1 I’m getting in the car with husband and babies and driving back to Nova Scotia where I came from. It’s not an easy decision, which is why I guess it took so long to make the move. I know I will miss you all horribly. So I’d like to bring you a show, a retrospective, and re-visit the old songs, introduce some new ones, and share a night with you beloved Yukoners; especially those of you who have been such great friends and fans, who send CDs as gifts to people Outside, who come to shows and tell others about them when I’m on the road. I don’t know if I can really thank you enough. Sunday night, Sept. 29, me and my awesome backup band will make some beautiful music for you.
There's a great show coming up at the Arts Centre this weekend, to celebrate their 20th anniversary. I should know - I was there. Twenty summers past, I came to the Yukon, and the scene in Whitehorse was pretty vibrant and the Arts Centre was just emerging from its bed of mud at the top of the cliff by the college. I found a cabin to share with a bunch of grubby kids across the river, and rode my bike up every day to volunteer at the gala opening. I learned how to coil cables, stage-manage, set mic-stands, and I got to know almost every musician and techie in town in those first few weeks. Eventually I got brave enough to get on the other side of the mics, and I'll be doing just that on Saturday to join in the nostalgia and revelry. Show starts at 8pm, tickets are $27.
On Good Friday, Blue Hibou will resume our Quiet Concerts at Well-Read Books, sharing the night with Jona Barr and his band Old Cabin. Jona is one of the Yukon's great emerging songwriting talents, and his band puts together beautiful arrangements in a sweet indie style. Two weeks after that we'll have a gentle version of Soir de Semaine, followed by francophone songstress Virginie Hamel on April 19. Shows start at 8pm, pay what you can. Coffee and tea. These shows have been wonderfully intimate and fun - the bookstore is a great listening room. We look forward to playing for you there.
Blue Hibou in Studio
Mme Beaulieu and I are at the Vancouver airport en route to Toronto to begin rehearsing and recording our first full-length Blue Hibou album, with Sandro Perri at the helm and many great players presiding. This is an adventure for us, and I am really looking forward to releasing the results to you - it promises to be a foray into new worlds for us, with Sandro's interest in tropicalia, bubbly percussion sounds, electronics and synth sounds influencing our folky bilingual music. We'll keep you posted!
January 2013: Annie Lou's "Let's Make Winter a Happy Place" BC Tour
Happy lucky '13! It's off to a good start, and I'm looking forward to these upcoming shows with Annie Lou, featuring the stellar songwriting of Anne Louise Genest, this time backed up by myself on clawhammer banjo and vocals, Max Heineman on stand-up bass, and Andrew Collins on fiddle and mandolin. Great band - share the word, and come to a show if you can! Tour dates are posted on the right.
After that, in February, Blue Hibou will be recording our first full-length album in Toronto with producer Sandro Perri (Polmo Popo, Devon Sproule, Lisa Bozikovich), thanks to generous support from the Yukon Film & Sound Commission and the Canada Council for the Arts. It's a collection of my songs, french songs by Helene Beaulieu, and instrumental compositions old and new, with arrangements by Sandro Perri and Mike Smith (Muskox), and performances by guest musicians including drummer Blake Howard and synth wizard Ryan Driver. We're pretty darn thrilled to be going exploring with this music and see where it leads us.
Blue Hibou is venturing out for our first touring adventure as a band. We’ll be playing a few late-night showcases in hotel rooms at the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals conference in Mississauga, and then we’re very excited to be sharing shows with the lovely Lisa Bozikovic, and the lovely Ryan Driver. We will have a demo CD with us, but the full-length project is still in the planning stages. On this tour we will have Micah Smith with us playing bass and lap-steel. I will also do a set or partial set as Kim Barlow. It's been a while since I've done that, and I'm looking forward to getting out of the banjo shack and singing and playing for you all. I have a new guitar and it sounds really great! Tour dates in the column to your right. See you there.
A Yukon Summer
This will be the first summer in several years that I'm not playing a bunch of festivals across Canada with Annie Lou - we have a new CD coming out and will be hitting the road with it in the fall. This summer we'll be at the Atlin Arts & Music Festival, close to home and the beautiful mountains of northern BC, and we're excited to share the stage with the likes of David Grisman, David Lindley, some of our talented Yukon friends, and lots more great music.
I'm also putting a lot of energy into a new project these days, called Blue Hibou. This is a collaboration with Hélène Beaulieu, who moved to Whitehorse from Quebec a few years ago and has thoroughly charmed our dusty town. She is an inventive and subtle musician who can switch gracefully from classical guitar ensemble, to ukulele workshops for pre-schoolers, to songwriter extraordinaire, to sweet and plunky banjo parts on old Hank Williams tunes. We are songwriting and composing and collecting songs and guitar duets by Stravinsky, Satie, Bach, etc. Add local indie hero Micah Smith on lap steel and bass, and we have a warm and dreamy mix of sounds. We're recording a demo that will evolve into a full-length disc in the coming months. We're playing some shows around the Yukon this summer. Keep an eye on the upcoming shows listed to the right, because things are still unfolding!
Blue Hibou (Hélène Beaulieu, Kim Barlow, and as often as possible Micah Smith) is hosting a Quiet Concert Series, every second Friday at Well-Read Books in Whitehorse, YT.
Blue Hibou is a brand new group, having recently made our debut at the Frostbite Music Festival. We are excited to perform live for you, as we stretch ourselves and find new sounds that combine our formal backgrounds and our songwriting styles, mixing english and french, banjo and classical guitar, country and experimental sounds. We're also really excited to share the bill with these great bands.
This is a chance to hear some of your favourite local musicians playing sweet music in a cozy, intimate setting.
There are three shows in this series:
Next Friday, March 9 - Old Cabin, featuring the warm-hearted songwriting of Jona Barr, backed up by Fiona Solon, Johnny Rodgers and Ryan McNally.
March 23 - The Blue Warblers, with Kim Beggs & Natalie Edelson in their exciting new duo, playing original and traditional sweet and savoury tunes, with old timey guitar, clawhammer banjo, hand-knee percussion, and rich harmonies.
April 6 - Studio Catcho, an interactive trio featuring Elli Savoie, Johnny Rodgers & Yannick Rennoman, exploring electronica and loops in a playful, theatrical context.
$15 or PWYC.
Hope to see you there!
January, looking back and looking ahead
My apologies for the prolonged lack of posts and updates. This is what has been happening: I did a tour in Germany and Switzerland in December with Mathias Kom; our duo Spring Breakup and Susie Asado shared a bill for 15 lovely shows. Susie Asado is brilliant and inspiring. Visit her at www.susieasado.com.
We enjoyed visiting Christmas markets and sampling the glüwein along the way. We found the audiences warm and welcoming, and the venues sweet. Thank you, everyone who made it so good!
One of the cutest places we played was in Trögen, CH. Our new friend Angela posted some videos. This is us playing a tune made famous by Frank and Nancy Sinatra:
We hope to make it back there in the summer – will post as plans develop.
Currently I’m in Toronto, recording the new Annie Lou record with Anne Louise Genest. It’s sounding pretty hot, in an oldtimey way! Should be out in the world by April, when we will be back in Ontario for a Home Routes tour of house concerts.
This stay in TO has been mind-expanding and has gotten me fired up for projects back home. Which brings me to this...
Summer is coming. This seems hard to believe right now, as the snow has been falling steadily all morning. Annie Lou’s summer tour dates are up, and this is heartening. Looking forward to sun and heat and those strange and wonderful festival moments when unlikely combinations of musicians share a stage and perform never-to-be-repeated versions of, say, “I Shall Be Released” on banjo and celtic harp and thumb piano and three basses; that sort of thing.
Coming up on Thursday, June 9, a double bill here in Whitehorse at the Old Firehall will feature new material by Kyle Cashen and his band Local Animals, and me, with Helene Beaulieu, playing some of my new compositions for two guitars or guitar and banjo. These pieces will be interspersed with the debut performance of a wee band of five gals who call ourselves molecule. We like to sing - our own songs, other peoples’ songs; mostly in unison and octaves with here and there a harmony line but not too much of that, and we are looking forward to bringing our pleasing and minimalist arrangements to the stage.
Listen to tracks and order online
Are you wondering about Wilderness Tips? Want to sample Saplings? Got Gingerbread in your head? Great news! You can now listen to any track from Kim’s solo albums: Just go and browse the Solo Albums page.
Even in this era of digital downloads, the good old-fashioned CD still has its advantages! Kim’s solo albums as well as the Spring Breakup and Annie Lou albums can now be ordered directly from Kim on this site. Payments are securely processed by PayPal and CDs are normally shipped within 24 hours.
Extra! Spring Breakup t-shirts are now available!
A new instrumental project
With the Spring Breakup “It’s Not Me, It’s You” Special Valentine’s CD Release Tour over, and Annie Lou’s summer of fun, sun and folk festivals a few months off, I have some time to start working on my next project, a collection of instrumental compositions for guitar and banjo. This is a departure from the lyrical music I have been writing for the last ten years, but also a return to my roots in classical guitar. So far I’ve completed a seven-piece suite for guitar in drop-D tuning using my amplified beat up old archtop, and it’s exhilarating to discover the themes that are slowly emerging from the music.
Happy Valentine's Day!
Writing from the ferry to Nanaimo, City of Romance, where Mathias and I are going to play a special Valentine’s Day show at the Port Theatre. We’re in the middle of our Spring Breakup CD release tour, for our new collection of breakup songs, “It’s Not You, It’s Me”. It’s been a grand adventure so far, as to be expected when touring in Canada in February. The shows have been fun, and in Terrace, BC, the organizers celebrated with a chocolate fountain in the lobby, heart-shaped cookies and other treats named after our songs.
Despite some travel snafus caused by impassible snowstorms in B.C. we made it to Whitehorse in time for a special Hockey Day in Canada concert with Dave Bidini, Canada’s hockey-rock hero, and his fantastic BidiniBand. The show featured Mathias, myself, John K. Samson, Geoff Berner, Sarah Harmer, Buck 65, and CR Avery. It was an amazing night and a real treat to be on stage with a bunch of my favourite musicians playing some great songs about hockey. Ron McLean hosted along with other Hockey Night in Canada regulars with guest appearances by hockey greats including Lanny McDonald (handsome moustache!), Wendel Clark, and Trevor Linden. After John K. Samson sang about his online petition to induct Reggie Leach into the Hockey Hall of Fame, we were surprised and charmed when Reggie emerged from the audience and met John for the first time on stage.
Spring Breakup Valentine’s Tour 2011
Mathias Kom and I are about to embark on an epic tour, taking us from Golden, BC to Dawson City to the Maritimes. Our new CD, “It’s Not You, It’s Me”, is complete, and we’re celebrating. This CD is the manifestation of many stories and ideas we collected while touring in 2008/9, followed by three weeks in Berlin last September turning them into songs, which we then recorded at the House of Miracles in London, ON. Some of the songs are sad, some are absurd, some have a really nice calypso rhythm, and they all have banjo and ukulele – you can’t go wrong! We’d love to see you out there on the wild winter road. Tour dates and details are mostly final but still unfolding, so check back.
Wise and Weathered
Waiting in the Edmonton airport, on my way home after 12 days touring, enjoying some time alone in the crowd. The Wise & Weathered tour, with Catherine MacLellan and Raghu Lokanathan, was sweet, and we felt that we grew into the name as we racked up the winter miles. We started the tour with a sold-out show in Whitehorse and continued to have good turn-outs and enthusiastic encores all along the way. Seems it was a balanced combination of funny, odd and beautiful music. We hunkered down in my cabin in Whitehorse for a few days before the tour began, to work up each other’s tunes, and we spontaneously composed a few instrumentals as well. This collaborative style of touring is interesting; sharing the stage with other songwriters I admire, and pushing ourselves as accompanists while we step back and let one another take the lead. Raghu has a calm grace and humility about him that makes songs like “I’m a Fucking Genius” all the more hilarious. Catherine sings like a goddess and makes you feel like really, everything will be all right. I launched some of my new songs into the world, and it’s gratifying to have them well received and to let them do their work; heartening and hopeful missives.
Saplings, my newest CD, is ready!
It’s ready - Saplings is a new collection of songs I’ve been working on over the past year, some with Jean Martin at Barnyard Records in Toronto, and some with Bob Hamilton at Old Crow Recording here in Whitehorse. I'm really happy with it. These are songs to cheer and encourage, also containing explorations of the natural world and the other-worldly. Bryden Baird contributed some lovely horn parts, and Melisa Devost sings and plays sweet uke, and on three songs, Justin Haynes and Ryan Driver add their wonders and charm.
Saplings will be available on-line soon, and off-stage, during my upcoming tour with Raghu Lokanathan and Catherine MacLellan. See you soon!
Always interested to hear from you! Contact me.
I am slowly getting my new website up and running. Over the next few weeks you'll see a lot of changes and improvements. Please excuse the rough edges!
photo by Ruth Borgfjord
Blue Hibou is a brand new group that combines the talents of veteran Yukon musician Kim Barlow, and newcomer Hélène Beaulieu. Barlow and Beaulieu are having a grand time finding new sounds that combine their formal backgrounds and songwriting styles, mixing english and french, banjo, ukulele, classical and electric guitars, country and experimental sounds. As often as possible, Micah Smith rounds out the trio on bass and lap steel guitar. The results are dreamy, magical and melodic.
Listen here: Soundcloud