Western swing with Little Kim and the Alley Apple 3

Posted by Dee-Ann On September - 19 - 20104,086 views

My two favorite instruments are the Hammond Organ and the lapsteel. I do play Hammond, but not the lapsteel. So as soon as I hear one, I freeze and time stands still so I can listen to that softly massage for the ears. When I listened to a Belgian band: Little Kim and the Alley Apple 3, I heard that lapsteel sound again, but this time with the soft and bright voice of Little Kim. This singer sounds as sweet as she looks. And a nice personality too. The band: Kimberly (vocals), Tom (guitar and backings), Selim (double bass), Patrick (lapsteel and guitar).

Photo: Hans De Greve

I asked their guitarplayer Tom for an interview, and he referred me to their leading lady Kim.

How did your love for old jazz, blues and honky tonk/ country start? Were you influenced by your parents or friends? Or did you find the love for those kinds of music yourself? And which artists did you listen to?
My mom and dad were big music lovers, and I grew up with lots of old LPs of great artists like Elvis, Johnny Cash and the Beatles. When I was young I really liked Irish folk music and American Country and Western a lot. Starting out as a singer, I was heavily influenced by Patsy Cline, Wanda Jackson, Peggy Lee, and too many to mention …

You played in many bands before. Were they also playing music in this genre?
No, actually the Alley Apple 3 is the first band in this genre. I got in touch with them through an ad, and we hit it off  immediately. Although “the Alley Apple 3” had a kind of honky tonk style in mind … for everyone, it was very clear from the start that we needed to go ahead  in this western swing genre. Mainly because my voice  fits swing more than it fits honky tonk.

My band before the Alley Apple 3 was “the Howlin’ Roaddogs ” – a blues band I played with for three years. I Really loved it but I missed the country and the jazz in it. I’m glad I’ve found those two genres combined within “Little Kim & the Alley Apple 3”. 


Photo by: Freddy Vandervelpen

What do you do to keep your voice in shape? Do you have singing lessons? Warming up procedures or just hot tea?
Well, I took singing lessons in Gent  for two years from Ilse Duyck. She really opened my perspective on singing, and made me do things with my voice I thought were never possible. I also think listening to very good vocalists  can help a lot! You can always learn from such legends like Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Peggy Lee, …

Before I go on stage I do a little bit of warming up: I put on a big scarf and drink up a big cup of herbal tea with honey 🙂  

You’ve been playing quite a lot with the alley apple 3 for three years now. I guess you have a lot of fun on the road. Do you have a funny gig story you want to share with us?
Sometimes we show up at a venue and people start coming in, dressed in cowboy boots and Indian costumes. No kidding 🙂 They must think we play some cowboy- shooting-Indian-kind-of-music. But of course that’s not really us. We just like to mix different genres … and in the end, that’s how western swing got started anyway. Mixing all kinds of music: polka, swing, jazz, honky tonk, … It keeps it interesting for us.   

On another note – and not actually a very funny hardy har har story … Last week we  played at a big festival in Belgium for people with mental disabilities and we really, really, really loved playing for them!  It was a perfect end to our little summer tour: such enthusiasm and warmth! It’s just  nice to see them go wild and enjoying themself! It’s also nice for ourselves that   we get to play, not only at rockabilly festivals, but also at these kinds of festivals … be it  pop/ rock, jazz, or roots, … 

If you got the chance to play a couple of months in the US would you do it? Can you stay away that long, from work, family & friends?
If you get that once in a lifetime opportunity you must grab it. But I – and the Alley Apple 3 as well – keep our little feet to the ground. Not only is there the “money” issue (low fees and such) but also the loneliness would be very hard, because family is everything to me. But I’m sure that  a band like “the Alley Apple 3” would be very supportive. And hopefully we would be so busy on the road that we wouldn’t have the time to think about  family and friends …  
For now Little Kim is traveling all around Belgium and the Netherlands. For the European fans a good opportunity to visit. Overseas you can listen to their lovely music on myspace or youtube:

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