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Wednesday, 16 November 2016 15:12

Swift Current singer’s impressive release about relationships

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It can be a bit of an oxymoron to say not putting extra self pressure about doing something creative might be the best strategy for a singer/songwriter, but for Swift Current’s Keith Kitchen, it’s worked wonders.


Kitchen’s fourth CD Orbits will be released Nov. 18 in a free concert at the Trailview Alliance Church (298 Battleford Trail) in Swift Current at 7:30 p.m.
The work is country, which has touches of pop and folk sounds, but still spiritual yet not on the sense of preaching. The well-crafted songs on Orbits are ones which make you think about one’s relationships in life with everyone.
In Miracle Kitchen asks the question many of people ask to God: “why do the wicked seem to prosper and the righteous live in need? ... Oh, I could use a miracle tonight.” In A Clean Break it’s a tearjerking yet hopeful song which makes one think about a person’s own relationships and the yearning to start over with someone.
The songs are thoughtful. Kitchen calls it his best effort yet, but it wasn’t until after a lot of soul-searching and some “dark times” as he describes it, that he finished his fourth album.
After battling a depressing time for him, he returned in earnest to music and songwriting. He started making some appearances and playing some shows using some of the new material. People were asking him which CD they could get some of the new, unreleased songs and that he “needed to record those (songs).” Kitchen decided to put together CD number four and while he wanted to do his best, he went into it with a new attitude.
“I haven’t let the music define my identity or me as a person,” Kitchen says. “When you put all of your emphasis on your career and if your career is struggling, you can really get down. Music isn’t totally me, that’s the difference (there’s no pressure to be perfect musically). I have a new sense of rest ... it’s what defines us as Christians. We’re not performers for ourselves, you just have to remember who we belong to (God). It was like being re-oriented.”
While he did go through a rough patch personally, those dark moments he suffered and endured, especially around the time of his third CD Restless (2012), he says that isn’t from where he drew inspiration or songwriting ideas. He says to be depressed is when someone is the most creative is just “a lie.”
“I think there’s the notion of the romanticizing the tortured artist and I started to believe to be depressed was to be creative and be optimistic was to be native,” he surmises. “Surprisingly, and joyfully when I started to write (after getting himself on track) the writing was far more hopeful and I found victory in that.
“I feel whole and healthy and it’s the best record I’ve ever made.”
He is proud of his previous three efforts 2007’s Broomtree; 2010’s Rumours of the Light and 2012’s Restless, but says he likes this effort the most. Strictly from a technical point of view, Kitchen says the craftsmanship of the songs are better both lyrically, musically and production-wise because he has more experience with it and was more willing to take musical chances. In the past, Kitchen wrote to what he thought should be done because of tradition or what the market may have wanted. In Orbits, he threw caution to the wind and what’s left is an excellent 11-song collection including CD opener Keeper of the Fire which illustrates Kitchen’s velvet smooth voice.
It was the encouragement of fans of his music to go forward in the past that helped fund his previous efforts and it was pre-orders of Orbits which encouraged him that his music was still wanted. He says music fans’ interests towards anyone can ebb and flow depending on when releases are made.
A lot of people came back when they heard of the new release. He and his beloved wife Ruth have been busy putting orders together and sending them out. Some of the orders are from out of province and even out of country.
“Support has been pretty tremendous and extremely humbling,” Kitchen adds.
“It’s been pretty tremendous,” says Kitchen of Orbits’ journey. “I think for this one it was proving something, I made I was not trying to impress certain people, or trying to fit into the industry’s world view. The process of recording was effortless, there was no last-minute push. It was like ‘fall-off-the-bone’ easy. It was a cathartic experience ... After doing it four times it finally felt like I knew was it was I was supposed to be doing.”
The CD will be available online in both physical and digital form (www.keithkitchenmusic.bandcamp.com), and will be available at the release concert Nov. 18 at 7:30 p.m. Kitchen adds he is working on a bit of a tour and is hopeful to get some dates firmed up in the near future.

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor