A Welcome Solitude: Shotgun Jimmie Productive in New Prairie Home
By Julijana Capone
“I think the prairieness – the big flat, big sky country sort-of-stuff – kind of enters my mind as being something that’s new and exciting,” says one-man rock band Shotgun Jimmie (aka Jim Kilpatrick), the former Sackville, New Brunswick resident who now calls Brandon, Manitoba home.
His latest album, Everything, Everything – released on You’ve Changed Records, the label founded by former Attack in Black members Daniel Romano and Ian Kehoe and Steve Lambke of the Constantines – was written and self-recorded last winter in a cabin on the shores of Lake Clementi, just south of Brandon. His first winter in the prairies was a productive one: three months spent in relative solitude, recording songs on a four-track or whatever he could get his hands on, and some hiking and wood-chopping in between sessions.
“I was quite comfortable being isolated, because I was focused and uninterrupted. A great deal of the way I spend my time is touring and being in very social situations, so it’s nice to take a break from that,” he says.
Informed in part by lo-fi pop titans Guided By Voices, the record never strays from the sort of raw and restless energy that marks much of Kilpatrick’s catalogue. Everything, Everything also features appearances by Julie Doiron, and a cast of Manitoba characters, including Cole Woods (Cannon Bros., Haunter), Brandon-based cellist Leanne Zacharias, who lends vocals to “Last Night”, and mixing courtesy of sound engineer Cam Loeppky (The Weakerthans, Imaginary Cities, Federal Lights).
You can also add acclaimed local singer/songwriters Christine Fellows and John K. Samson to Kilpatrick's list of Manitoba collaborations; Kilpatrick was part of Samson’s Provincial Tour last year.
“The music scene here really has it together,” Kilpatrick says. “It’s a healthy music scene to be joining – very productive and vital.”
Having spent a full calendar year in the province, Kilpatrick is finding bliss in simple summer pleasures; playing tennis, hiking Brandon’s Blue Hills, and “just biking around the suburbs like a teenager.”
His sincere and charming approach to pretty much everything, has helped the social butterfly make fast friends on the Manitoba music scene – and beyond. Case in point: the pitch he sent to the Brandon Folk Music & Art Festival, asking organizers to be his BFF (Best Friend Forever). “I think my email was: ‘Shotgun Jimmie and BFF, BFF?’ or something. I thought the acronym stood for Brandon Folk Festival, but the acronym isn’t actually BFF.” (Note: It’s BFMAF)
In addition to playing Brandon’s folk festival this weekend, he’ll also be making the trek to Kelwood's Harvest Sun Festival in August and the Harvest Moon Festival in Clearwater in September. Backed by a full rock band, consisting of Woods and Haunter's Marie-France Hollier, for all of his Manitoba festival dates, Kilpatrick says he’s looking forward to getting to know some new faces in new corners of the province.
“I usually play small to medium-sized festivals and I do quite enjoy it," he says. "They’re not so big that you feel like you’re in a city or something. They’re small enough that you can actually have an opportunity to meet everyone involved, which is very personal."
To honour Shotgun Jimmie’s entry into full-fledged Manitobaness, we decided to ask him some questions to test his Manitoba knowledge (and encouraged him to creatively guess wherever he couldn’t answer). Below are his responses:
Q: Name one musician with a Brandon connection.
A: Pip Skid. (Correct)
Q: What do people do at Garbage Hill?
A: Shoot rats. (Incorrect)
Q: Who is considered to be the founding father of Manitoba?
A: Is it Louis Riel? (Correct)
Q: Name a song inspired by Manitoba.
A: What’s the Manitoba theme song? I know the Ontario theme song…“Give me a place to stand and place to grow, Ontari-ari-ari-o!” (Incorrect. Note: Manitoba does not have a provincial theme song, but we think that Shotgun Jimmie should consider writing one for his next album.)
Q: What is a nip and where can you get one?
A: A nip is a fashionable Manitoban hairstyle and you can get it at Hairistocracy in Brandon. (We’ll accept that answer. Alternate answer: a burger at Salisbury House.)
Q: What is the name of Winnipeg’s professional hockey team?
A: It’s The Jets. (A very crucial correct)