I like to think of Kim McMechan’s songs as life, put to music.
It’s letters in the mail, a garden in bloom, kids asleep in the back seat during a long car ride. It’s memories and emotions and the stuff that our subconscious takes in and turns to echos of something in our head that we just can’t put a finger on.
The words are poetry. The tunes that accompany them simple and light. They have a way of sounding like something we’ve heard before, a long time ago, even when we’re hearing them for the first time. It might have something to do with those echoes in our heads.
“The songs mostly begin as poems and then, because I’m not a virtuoso on an instrument, the melodies and arrangements come very simply,” Kim told The Pear Tree over coffee earlier this week.
The Kelowna, B.C. based singer and songwriter releases her second CD, Paper Sun, this weekend and, like her first album, Little Grey House, the 11 songs on it are largely autobiographical.
“Over half the album is very literal,” Kim said. “Early Spring Outing is a poem about an early spring outing. Long Drive Home, the most melancholic track, is about my thoughts driving home for Christmas with the kids in the back seat.”
The album was recorded at Hipposonic Studios (formerly Mushroom Studios) in Vancouver, and was produced by Colin Linden.
Kim was partial to Hipposonic as a location to record the album not just because of its reputation, but because of the equipment – old, vintage microphones, vintage amps, and an old grand piano.
“The piano was so beautiful. You could hear the pedal, the chunks of ivory hitting the keyboard. I like that authentic sound. And since the arrangements are more sparse and simple, everything counts a bit more,” Kim said.
Kim originally started writing creatively to treat headaches that were plaguing her several years ago. She found that, when she got her thoughts down in a journal she kept her headaches at bay.
If I don’t, now, I feel creatively constipated, to the point of feeling almost ill,” she said. It feels better, healthier, when it gets out. If I get a headache now, I know I need to write. There’s a backlog of unexposed emotion.”
Writing, Kim says, is also a tool to help her tune in to the everyday beauty around her.
“Creativity is about digesting my life,” she explained.
For those in Kelowna, Kim is holding two CD release parties, this weekend. The first, this Saturday, 19 November, will be 7 p.m. at the Streaming Cafe. The second is Sunday, 20 November, 7 p.m. at The Minstrel Cafe ($10 cover charge).
In the meantime, here are a couple of samples (click on the title to be taken to the sample page)
Kim also keeps a blog about her life as a writer, singer, photographer and mother over at kimmcmechan.com. And she loves comments, so if you stop by don’t forget to say hi!
Kim has also offered one Pear Tree reader a copy of Paper Sun. To enter the random draw, leave a comment, below. Extra entries can be earned by tweeting, Facebooking or blogging about the give-away – but it’s important to let us know you did in the comments below. The draw will be made Friday morning.