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Keeping up with Kim Churchill

'Frenetic' Australian singer-songwriter opens for Daniel Wesley on Saturday at the GLC

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Nothing beats youthful enthusiasm. Every so often we come across a young person so full of pie-eyed exuberance that keeps our own crusty maturity in check. It reminds those of us tethered to a desk and computer every day that, yes, there is a world of wonders beyond the office window.

Kim Churchill is one such individual. Speaking with him on the phone, it seems as though the exceptionally talented guitarist-vocalist is bursting at the seams. Even after a full day of traveling and sound checks for a show in Port Alberni, Churchill's speech is cackling with energy that works like a shot of caffeine for a writer 250 kilometres away.

"I'm kind of a frenetic, hyper-active person," he admits with a laugh.

And is the case with people harnessing on yielding energy and enthusiasm, Churchill has an almost biological inability to stay in one place for any time. He's a drifter and a troubadour who's lucky enough and talented enough that he's able to make a living playing music wherever he goes. He's been on the road more or less continuously since graduating high school in 2009, which he says suits him fine.

"A big schedule with things to race around and do keeps me from tapping my leg too hard on the ground or something. I don't know. It's good to have a fast lifestyle. It keeps me sane, I think," he says.

And so when, late last year, he stopped touring so heavily and sat down to work on the follow-up to his 2011 EP Turn To Stone, he says it was a completely new experience for him.

"When you're preparing an album, you have to sit back and just spend a lot of time working on the songs. It's very hard to do that whilst being on tour, so I had a few months in Australia where I wasn't gigging that much and I was mainly just working on the songs," he says.

He has no home base, choosing instead to drift from city to city when he's not playing shows or working on songs. He'd write songs in the moments where nothing was going on — sitting on a bed in a hotel room or in his van — and then take off for some other locale when he'd had enough.

"So I'm kind of like, thank goodness that it's back to touring because I've missed it a bit," he says.

Most of that energy is funneled into his music. He says it's where he "exhausts" most of it. His live show is of a one-man band reinterpreting Another Side of Bob Dylan and Led Zeppelin III into one foot-stomping, fuzz-driven collection. His new album Detail of Distance, due out in May in Australia, is the sound of a pie-eyed, 21-year-old reinterpreting Churchill's guitar is a voice all its own and, even at his young age, he's poised to take on Australian classics as master of the instrument.

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