Originally hailing from the mountain valleys of rural Victoria, alt-country star Sal Kimber grew up in a musical family, and discovered her passion for songwriting at an early age. As one of Australia’s most exciting emerging singer-songwriters, Kimber has been quietly stealing hearts on Australia’s live music scene for the past seven years.
In 2008 she found her niche by forming alt-country band Sal Kimber & The Rollin’ Wheel (with older sister Beth Kimber on keys and accordian, Cat Leahy on drums and Trent McKenzie on electric and double bass). Kimber and her band were named by Rolling Stone Magazine as “Australiana alt-country at its finest”, and over the past three years, has embarked on a Canadian tour and supported for Kasey Chambers, Tim Rogers and The Waifs.
The new single ‘Stumble in the Dark‘ is a hauntingly track that lives up to the accolades Kimber has already been receiving for her captivating performances and compelling storytelling. Written in a beach town shack with Beth, the result is a sea of layered slide, violins and harmonies produced by close friend Shane O’Mara.
I caught up with Sal before she headed off on her 7-date Australian tour to discuss her musical family, love of Bruce Springsteen and taking her single on the road…
I heard you grew up in a musical family in rural Victoria. Tell us how your upbringing has influenced your own music? our dad was/is a songwriter.
Dad had a passionate and fun approach to music – songwriting was just part and parcel of growing up in the Kimber house. There was a song for every occassion- I have a recording of the whole family singing a song called ‘the chips were gone’ i must have only been 4 or 5 – and dad had stolen hot chips off my plate when i wasn’t watching, i remember being really crushed, so we wrote a song about it. We have another sister who is an AMAZING singer, and Mum – well Mum was the dancer 🙂
What’s it like working with your older sister Beth?
Beautiful and deeply rewarding, we definitely have our moments, but i think the challenging bits just keep us honest and authentic. We spend spend a lot of time laughing, god save our band mates!
How did the two of you come across Cat Leahy – your drummer?
It was a bit of a courtship 😉 Catty was playing drums for a band I was touring with, I was the solo support act, and fell in love with her drumming and stage presence. She became my booker, then close friend, we would jam at home and have the best fun – so after a few years of courting (in the music world) i asked her to be our drummer! i feel blessed everytime i step on stage with Catty. She keeps me believing, writing and playing live, she is very much the anchor of this band(ship).
Is their a chief songwriter or composer in the band, or do you share you creative input?
I guess I do most of the songwriting, but I get most inspired when composing with others, this last year Buffy (Beth) and I have been writing together, we have always mucked around together as kids – lots of silly songs – our hit as kids was ‘freckle face’. The new single came from a lazy sunday co-writing session with Buff, just hanging out at a friends beach shack, drinking copious amounts of tea… we then took the song to Catty and my friends Tully and Lou who helped bring it all to life.
Your new single ‘Stumble in the Dark’ is a beautiful, haunting number. Where did your inspiration come from?
Thanks… um if i was to be honest, the last few years have been a big adventure, a bit challenging at times, i experienced a bit of anxiety for a while there – working as a full time youth worker and touring with the band on the side, i saw and felt.. a lot… i think it was just time to share a song that was a little more vulnerable and spoke of that human truth – that there will always be dark and light, it is all part of this whacky journey we call life, and it is love, love that brings us back home, keeps us rolling.
You have a full-length album coming out later this year. Can you give as a hint as to what to expect?
Some rocking out, some light, some more vulnerability, and lots of O’mara tremolo 🙂
You are going on a single release tour for ‘Stumble in the Dark’ next month. What are you most looking forward to about the tour?
Being on the road with my friends. it sounds cheesy doesn’t it? but it’s true, my favourite moments on tour are those after a show, back at the accom dagging around 🙂
Who would you love to tour with if you had the choice?
Bruce Springsteen. So many reasons. Last year buff and i had backstage passes to a BOSS show, the crew were all so lovely and they ride horses #perfectmatch
And finally, what can we expect from a Sal Kimber & the Rollin’ Wheel show?
Worn in ariat boots, a super talented drummer, and the occasional sychronised sister penguin dance move 🙂
SAL KIMBER & THE ROLLIN’ WHEEL ‘STUMBLE IN THE DARK’ TOUR DATES:
Friday 12th June
The Gasometer Hotel, Melbourne VIC
Special guests: The Yearlings + Connor Black Harry
Saturday 13th June
Red Hot Music, Devonport TAS
Special guest: Tessa Lee
Sunday 14th June
Newtown Social Club, Sydney NSW
Special guest: Julia Jacklin
Thursday 18th June
Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane QLD
Special guests: JOVE + Sian Evans
Friday 19th June
Mullumbimby Ex-Services Club, Mullumbimby NSW
Special guest Isobel Simms-James
June Barossa Regional Art Gallery, Tanunda SA
Special guests: The Yearlings
Sunday 21st June
The Grace Emily, Adelaide SA
Special guests Tara Carragher
Tickets available at http://salkimber.com.au