Artist Spotlight: John Kimler

If you ask me, John Kimler looks as if he’s been stripped from the pages of a children’s book of tall tales. Towering and grizzled, John gives the impression that he might be just as comfortable swinging an axe as he is slinging a guitar. His flannel shirt and work boots lend him a timeless, fabled sort of quality that brings to mind something of a cross between Woody Guthrie and Paul Bunyon.

His music is no different. John writes songs that sound as if they may have been written a hundred years ago, and sings them as though he’s sitting around the bonfire in a Hooverville somewhere back in the 1930’s.

With his soft-spoken delivery and quiet finger-picking Kimler sings about universals such as love, booze, heartbreak, and more booze; and does it in a way that makes you believe he knows plenty about it all.

Over the years, Kimler has become well known and highly respected amongst his peers in the Chicago music scene. Through hosting open-mics and jam sessions around town, he has become something of a universal in the world of Chicago songwriters.

Though John has only released a single cd, it is truly a brilliant work. Rich in imagery and plot, I often find myself listening to it from beginning to end, only to start it over and listen to it again.

John will be playing the Songwriter-in-the-Round at House of Blues for the third time on Monday, June 26th, and though the year on the calendar may read 2006, my guess is that John will be bringing a bit of 1935 along with him. See you then.