Kim Lowings

‘I am so glad I live and breath music’


The Shire Folk Editors have lost count of the number of people who have told us to go and see Kim Lowings and her band The Greenwood. Shire Folk Editor Graham saw Kim at the Derby Folk Festival in October and was so impressed he immediately arranged to interview her when she played the Wychwood Folk Club last November. Here is what Kim had to say …


SF: Can you tell us how you started writing and singing folk songs?


Kim Lowings

KL: Perhaps one of my earliest memories of folk song is hearing ‘Matty Groves’ as arranged by Fairport Convention. I used to sing along to it as a child without even comprehending the meaning of the story. As I grew a little older it used to scare me a little to hear the gruesome parts of the tale. I think that started a sort of fascination with true folklore and fairy tales with all of the scary bits, rebellion and reality included. My writing developed much later, in my early twenties. I had a very inspiring English Literature tutor at college called Mrs Benns who taught me the intricacy of layers in writing, allowing an audience space to interpret, the important links that words have with our lives and the necessity of a ‘sexy introduction’. I felt I had much more that I wanted to say after studying music at Dartington College of Arts and having spent some time abroad.

SF: It’s interesting that you chose to study music at Dartington College; can you tell us a little more about your time there?

KL: I wanted to be in a place where I could be creative and live amongst like-minded people. I fell in love with Devon as a child on holidays to Shaldon and it was like a dream come true to be able to live and study in the beautiful town of Totnes. All of the courses encouraged cross-discipline collaboration, and working with theatre practitioners, choreographers, artists and creative writers broadened my view of how the arts can touch people’s lives in different ways. I took part in an exchange to Lasalle College of the Arts in Singapore in my final year which was an incredible experience and the band even has a song called Monsoon inspired by my time there. An essential part of the degree was the ability to self-manage and self-motivate. These were perhaps two of the most important lessons that I learnt during my time there. Getting the band off the ground, visiting folk clubs, meeting people, managing time and small budgets was essentially a crash course in business. It is not the most straightforward path to choose in life but I am so glad I live and breathe music. I have a great team around me in the band, family, friends and Fancourt Music. I also have to thank the Midlands folk scene for supporting us right from the start.

SF: Where did you learn to play the dulcimer, and do you play any other instruments?

KL: My first instrument is the piano. I started learning it at the age of 7. I suppose I stepped away from it for a time but it has been making more and more of an appearance in my writing in the last couple of years. The first time I ever set eyes on an Appalachian dulcimer was in 2010 at a bookshop called The Couth Buzzard in Seattle. The Couth is situated in a suburb called Greenwood and this was where I got the inspiration for the band name. As soon as I heard the dulcimer I loved the sound of it, the simple beauty of the instrument and its accessibility.

SF: We saw you in 2016 playing with the folk supergroup ‘Company of Players’ at the Bristol Folk Festival. How is that project progressing?

KL: The Company of Players is an exciting project to be involved in. After a whirlwind writing week in Belper and an intense recording week in Cornwall we have made our first album called Shakespeare Songs, released 26 January 2018. It includes songs with many of the themes that Shakespeare is famed for with a contemporary folk perspective. There are ten of us in the group: Jess Distill, Kathy Pilkinton, Hannah Elizabeth, Kelly Oliver, Chris Cleverley, Sam Kelly, Lukas Drinkwater, Minnie Birch, Daria Kulesh and myself. We all work as individuals, in bands and other collaborative set-ups and it can be tricky to get us all in one place at one time but we are planning on a few live shows in the spring of 2018. Do keep an eye on our Facebook page for up-to-date information.

SF: Do you have any other projects you are working on and where can we see you and the band in 2018?

KL: I am looking forward to being back on the road with the Greenwood. We are planning a couple of tours through the year, in April and potentially November time, with other dates dotted here and there. We will be travelling to Peterborough, Wiltshire, Birmingham, Bristol, London, Nottingham, Derby, York and Leicester amongst other places and have more dates to be added. We are really looking forward to our first visit to Folk Weekend Oxford at the end of April. All up-to-date information is available from our website,·www.kimlowings.com.

I have been forming a few ideas for collaborations with musical friends and hope that the new year brings time and space to make them a reality. I also have some solo songs that need some love and attention. But with the success of our third Greenwood album, Wild & Wicked Youth, I am thoroughly enjoying the journey, sharing our work and getting out there to play live music.

Graham Hobbs

FEATUTRE HEADING: blah blah balh


Feature Intro:After having won the Musician of the Year award at this year’s Folk Awards and playing with almost everyone from Jon Boden and Eliza Carthy to Hannah Ja


Feature Interviewer SF: Question

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