Sal Kimber’s Nan was living in Robinvale, Victoria during World War II. It had been three years since she heard from her beloved husband, Stan. She had assumed that he was dead. Imagine how it would feel after all that time to receive a telegram that would be too heartbreaking to dream about. He was coming home.
SAL KIMBER AND THE ROLLIN’ WHEEL take you on the Melbourne bound train to pick Stan up on the last track of their self-titled debut album. If you think about it hard enough, you’ll find yourself giddy with anticipation and overcome with a feeling of true love that you had told yourself was gone.
Sometimes there’s just something special about folk music. The tradition of storytelling is so alive and drenched in a history that runs deeper than our living memories. The story of Sal’s Nan and Pop is a perfect example of folk music at its story telling finest.
Sal says that she likes explaining the narrative behind the lyrics. “I think that the folk tradition of telling the story behind the song is really, really beautiful and so important… I think people can connect to the song that little bit more and they can own it and put themselves there on that train.”
Sal was raised in a musical family and grew up going to folk festivals. One of her sisters, Buffy, plays keys and xylophone in the band but Sal also plays and writes music with her older sister as well as her father.
She says the intimacy and exposing nature of creating music with each other brings her family together in a very special way. “Our family is really honest and quite emotionally raw with each other… which is a really beautiful thing, it means we’re all really close.”
Her family was based in northeast Victoria and the landscape of the area is another focus of the album. She says when the band is performing or recording those songs she tries to put herself back in the hills and back into a truly stunning part of Australia.
The blues, country and folk musical influences of her childhood greatly shape the music she’s making today but there are a few other sources of inspiration like groove, soul, bluegrass and even dance shaping the unique sound of the band.
After one particular festival gig, someone described the band as True Blood meets Paul Kelly meets the B52s – a strange concept to imagine, but oddly perfect once you’ve experienced the band in full swing. It’s also worth taking a peek at their new video clip for Beat Gets Louder featuring ‘50s hairstyles and the Ballarat Go Dancers.
Sal Kimber and The Rollin’ Wheel will be playing a free gig at The Phoenix Bar on Thursday October 27. For more info on the band, check out salkimber.com .