For a glorius half-dozen years, Kim Lembo was the real deal in Syracuse music, and constantly threatening to be the Next Big Thing to take the world’s ears by storm.
I covered her voice and her four albums and her live shows, from her debut in 1994 on Baldwinsville’s Blue Wave Records until she moved to San Francisco at the turn of this century.
As happens 99 percent of the time, even though plenty of big names said many great things about her sound and her songs, that ultimate break-out and stardom did not happen.
Life went on.
I received a really nice Facebook message from Kim a week or so ago, telling me of a Syracuse-area show coming up Wednesday. She’s coming back from Oakland for a set. A new album is in the works. Did I know anybody who might like to write about that?
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She’s changed her singing ways.
The woman the pundits compared to Susan Tedeschi and Lou Ann Barton — nothing to sneeze at there, mind you — is a blues belter no longer.
“I couldn’t listen to Paris Burning, it came out 15 years ago, and I couldn’t listen to it until two months ago without cringing,” Lembo told me in a phone conversation. I was over-reaching so much.”
This new style, Lembo says, has a country feel, but it’s not country. In the day, she used to record blues classics. Now she’s written all 12 songs that will come out on the new record next year herself. She learned how to play the guitar in the 15 years since that last album. There will be a stand-up acoustic bass on this one, too.
Nice to talk with you again, Kim Lembo. My how time goes on. In a good way.
What artists have changed their styles over the years to the greatest advantage, in your opinion, and why? Are you generally pro or con more acoustic-oriented albums, and why? Do you think artists who write their own songs in a mid-career break-through have a better chance of finding a new audience or winning over the old crowd, and why?