Blindsided along with the rest of the world by the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year, veteran Americana songwriter Will Kimbrough is poised to document this unprecedented moment in history with a new solo acoustic record, Spring Break, set for release October 23.
Created in the documentary-oriented and storytelling tradition of Folkways and Vanguard folk records, Spring Break crystallizes in musical form a period in time that touched and changed the entire globe. The title comes simply from Spring 2020–or as Kimbrough puts it, “When the world broke, and we all took a break.”
While the album is themed around a national and international experience, Kimbrough puts his personal lens on the journey to focus and refine the massive scope. Like many other artists who were out on the road directly prior to the virus outbreak, Kimbrough–who was in Australia at the time–was forced to pause his tour schedule and return home to Nashville.
With no clear idea of when he might be able to return to the stage, he decided to take the opportunity to work on new material. “I started writing,” he notes, adding that he naturally drew inspiration from the circumstances swirling about–including political division, tragic losses, and other aspects of the current climate.
“I wrote ‘All Fall Down’ with a friend, after discussing the strange world of the politics surrounding COVID and the divided United States,” he explains. “When John Prine passed from COVID, I wrote ‘The Late Great John Prine Blues.’ Then, I finished a song with a songwriting hero, Milton Brown–who also happens to be one of Jimmy Buffett’s early mentors—’Digging a Ditch with a Spoon.’”
Kimbrough laid down the three new songs in his home studio, and, pleased with the results, decided to keep going with his flow. In addition to his own compositions, he examined and ultimately added some co-writes with fellow artists to the collection, such as “Home Remedy” and “Plow to the End of the Row” (which were written with Adrienne Young); and “Rocket Fuel” and “Cape Henry” (Todd Snider).
He didn’t stop there, choosing to mine further into his personal archives. “I revisited a song I had recorded at my parents’ old beach house on the Gulf of Mexico, ‘Child of Light,’ and realized that I loved the version I had recorded,” he recalls.
The end result was a collection that Kimbrough found remarkably satisfying. He spent the month of April working on the set: “Before I knew it, I had 14 solo acoustic songs recorded that I just loved.” Indeed, the end result is a set that ranges from gentle and wistful reminiscing, to more forceful questioning, to simple reflections; all led along by Kimbrough’s confessional vocals and gift for plainspoken storytelling.
While tour plans continue to remain up in the air for the entire entertainment industry, Kimbrough is in the meantime working to deliver music to thousands of fans through his Patreon page and a weekly Facebook Live show, both of which he utilizes for live performances, podcasts, and even musical instruction.
Kimbrough, an Alabama native and accomplished multi-instrumentalist, has recorded nine previous solo albums. His compositions have been recorded by the likes of Jimmy Buffett, Little Feat, Todd Snider, Jack Ingram, Gretchen Peters and many others. He also boasts production credits for Buffett, Doug Seegers, Shemekia Copeland, Todd Snider, Radney Foster and Steve Poltz. His production work on the award-winning Copeland´s 2018 release America’s Child earned him a Living Blues Producer of the Year title in 2019.
For more information, please visit www.willkimbrough.com