If you’re a fan of classic country by hitmakers such as Loretta Lynn, Bill Monroe, Patsy Kline and Tammy Wynette, don’t miss Kimberly Kaye, storyteller, songwriter and entertainer. She’s performing at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 25, at the Litchfield Opera House. Tickets are $7 and available at the door.
Kaye, a South Dakota resident, made her first appearance at the Opera House last year as part of the country duo Aces & Eights. She broke out as a solo performer earlier this year.
“I am sure enjoying the adventure,” she said.
Connie Lies, facilities coordinator and president of the Greater Litchfield Opera House Association Inc., was originally referred to Aces & Eights by the Smithsonian Traveling Museum of Music.
“She’s very good and has a delightful voice with a fair range of styles,” Lies said. “She is now on her own and very welcome to grace our simple stage.”
When it comes to her stage program, Kaye said the audience can expect a show full of classic country songs people know and love.
“It is intermingled with fun stories of my growing up on a farm, my family memories, and of course I love a good joke,” she said. “My show is meant for joy, laughter, trips down memory lane and catching a visit with folks afterward. It’s all about relationships and the wonderful folks attending.”
Kaye talks about her love of country music and her career in this Q&A.
How did you develop a passion for traditional country music?
I actually tell about this in my show. I grew up with a family who loved music. From the minute we got out of bed until the time we retired again, the radio was tuned to KWMT out of Fort Dodge, Iowa. On Saturday nights the relatives would all gather around our kitchen table and we’d play the old classic country songs until wee hours of the morning. Hank Snow, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline, you name it, we played them. I’m not much in tune to the “new country sound”, even though these artists are greatly talented. The “new country sound” does not stir my soul like the classic country sound. Classic country is in my soul and my upbringing.
You’re described as a multi-instrumentalist. What instruments do you play? Do you have a favorite?
I play guitar, mandolin, and banjo. Oh, and spoons. My favorite is the banjo because it’s so folksy. It’s a happy instrument. You can’t play the banjo and be sad. If you set the banjo to sad lyrics like “I’ve got a terrible cold. I’m going to the doctor,” you’ve got yourself a happy situation.
What’s it feel like to have your music inducted into the South Dakota Country Music Hall of Fame in 2019?
My gospel CD is being inducted into the South Dakota Country Music Hall of Fame. I’m truly honored. I was very surprised. It’s my first solo venture. When one records, they do it because they love the music so much and hope others get joy from listening. To have this CD honored means exactly that: “joy was felt.” Isn’t that what life is all about? Again, back to relationships and helping each other feel joy. My mom is in late stages Alzheimer’s disease. I wanted to get a CD made in her honor before she passed. One of the songs I wrote and recorded on the CD was “She Saw Me.” It’s about mom’s fight with this disease and my visits with her. Get the Kleenex out … I love her so much.
I’ve always thought country music had a spiritual component to it. Are people surprised to know you’re a country singer and pastor?
Preaching and Pickin’ is how the South Dakota Magazine titled their article on me recently. I loved it. Music is very spiritual indeed. I’ve played music since 13 years old but became a pastor in 2013. People are surprised when I pick up an instrument and let rip. I think the biggest surprise is when they hear me belt out a Loretta Lynn or George Jones tune. Faces light up and I can almost read their minds “There’s that good ol’ country music!” Flipside is about halfway through my shows when I tell people I’m a pastor and share my funniest children’s sermons. Again, they are surprised. The Gospel is shared in many ways. I once heard, “Preach the gospel, use words if you have to.” I believe in living, I mean really living life! Meaning it’s the people you meet along the way that bring meaning to life. I’m out there meeting them, learning from them, enjoying them and loving them … music gives me a vehicle to touch lives.
As a woman in music have you found it challenging to juggle work and family responsibilities?
I do the bookwork for our family business, Bachman Construction, so that allows me a lot of flexibility. In fact, I take my laptop with me. In between shows, you can find me in my hotel room logged on and doing business. I do spend a lot of time on the road and really enjoy it. My husband is very supportive. I try to book music heavily during his busy time with construction. Our downtime is wintertime when we get away to vacation and so on. We are both self-proclaimed workaholics and don’t you just have to be when you run your own businesses?
You were cited as a favorite in NPR Radio’s National Tiny Desk Contest in 2019. What was it about you and your music that appealed to fans? What did this honor mean to you?
Here’s what I discovered. People don’t care how “good” you are. They care that you care. They care that you are fun to be around. I don’t think folks are looking for a superstar to go spend time with. That song — “The New Stuff” — recognized by NPR is a fun song. In the video, I’m just plainly sitting in my music room, wearing jeans, jean jacket, boots playing that song. I’m laughing, making faces, and thoroughly enjoying a great song I wrote! I love that song and it showed. I think it became a magnet for the reviewers and they chose it. You just cannot ignore fun. I run towards it myself. I was absolutely shocked and thrilled when I got notification it was a South Dakota favorite and was featured in the South Dakota Public Broadcasting magazine and website. So neat.
Will you have CDs for sale at the Litchfield Opera House?
Oh sure. I’ll bring along my Gospel CD. I don’t sell them. I give them away. If people want to throw money in a donation Mason jar I have sitting there, they sure can. I might have my “all originals” CD finished by then and should have them available, too. I’d be honored if people want to take one home with them.
What do you want the audience to take away from your performance Sunday?
I want people to go away with a spring in their step. I want them to suddenly chuckle on their drive home because they remember a story I told or a joke I shared. I want people to go away from my shows thinking life is good, I’m going to live every moment of it.