Welcome To The Unique And Soulful World of Kim Logan's Psychedelic Swamp Rock

NASHVILLE – After careful thought, seemingly the best way for this writer to describe Kim Logan is “entertainer,” for she wears many hats: songwriter and vocalist, recording musician, opera singer, poet and performance artist. Her music is unique, layered, mystic and sometimes spooky, combining elements of rock, soul, blues, psychedelic, classical and pop.

Article by Joe Milliken * Photos courtesy of Kim Logan

Originally from the west coast of Florida, Kim’s early music influences varied. Her love for the “rock-and-roll royalty” of Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Beatles and Aerosmith, ultimately pushed her deeper into the soul and blues influences such as Blind Willie Johnson, Skip James, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, and Bonnie Raitt. Additionally, classical music was always a part of the equation for Kim as well… Mozart, Vivaldi, Saint-Saens, and Puccini’s operas.

Logan’s parents were very supportive of their musical daughter, giving Kim classical voice lessons early on. “I was also lucky enough to grow up is Sarasota, a city with all of the fine arts practiced, taught and strongly represented in the community,” Kim Logan said in a recent, Standing Room Only interview.

“The Sarasota Youth Opera carried me from fully-staged kids’ productions - including premieres of huge new works by modern composers, up to the level of covering full roles in the main festival productions – as well as appearing in the chorus. I've stuck with it ever since, and it’s just part of the fabric of my art now. I've spent the last six years singing with the Nashville Opera, growing along with my age and the system of the opera industry. Sarasota is also a circus town as well... John Ringling had built the place up back in the roaring 20s. That is a huge force behind what I do as well, and it's just now starting to come out in a bigger way, but it's always been there.”

By the end of high school, Logan was trying her hand at songwriting, and has been writing songs ever since. “I started writing songs during my last year in high school and have never stopped,” Kim said. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to be a songwriter, but it unfolded like that and I ended up pushing myself in that capacity, almost as hard as I do vocally… because songwriting is the hardest and most important thing. If you do it right, it’s like picking something out of thin air and weaving it with intangibles. It’s wacky, if you really think about it.”

After high school, Logan attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, before landing in Nashville, Tennessee. “I stayed in Boston for a couple of years before moving to Nashville. However, I did end up finishing my degree from Berklee, when they started allowing touring students to complete their studies online.”

After releasing her self-titled debut in 2013, Logan launched her own music label, Swamp Thing Records, and started releasing singles. “I started Swamp Thing the label that same year, to collect all of my recordings and published work in one place. I like to keep a handle on everything I’ve created. Since then, I have been releasing singles because it gives me the elasticity to explore different soundscapes and producers. Eventually, I will publish my poetry as well, but I’m still putting it together with visual art… still exploring how to present it.”

Along with releasing her debut album and subsequent singles, Logan and her band; Houston Mathews on drums, Amaia Agirre on keyboards, Cody Reid on bass, Gyasi Heus on guitar, and Stefan Forbus on saxophone, have toured throughout the United States and Europe, performing her unique brand of music self-described as “psychedelic-swamp-blues-rock-and-roll-soul music.” Whew! For this writer, the vibe feels like a little Janis Joplin, a little Nico, a little PJ Harvey and a little Stevie Nicks… all tossed into this boiling pot of yes, psychedelic swamp rock.

Logan’s latest recording project, Pseudoscience, is a three-chapter release so far, with three pairs of singles. “They each have an ‘A-side/B-side’ feel, and I’ve pressed the first chapter to a 45-single on vinyl. Chapter one was recorded in Nashville by Grammy Award-winning producer Vance Powell (Jack White/Chris Stapleton), and Chapter Two was recorded in Dripping Strings, Texas with my Nashville band featuring Brendan Lazer (The Lucille Furs, The Ivorys) and Brett Orrison (Widespread Panic, The Black Angels). Chapter three was recorded in Nashville - on a 1984 Tascam 388 analog machine - by my longtime guitar player and best friend, Gyasi Heus.

The recordings featured some very talented musicians, a Nashville rock-and-roll super-group of sorts; myself and Gyasi, Dylan Whitlow (Blackfoot Gypsies), Amaia Agirre (Thelma and the Sleaze), and Houston Mathews (The Steppin' Stones, Buffalo Clover). All three chapters were mostly recorded live to tape... that was really important to me.”

The latest singles, “Ladyboy” and “Hitch Your Wagon,” are unique and different. The former rocks with a glam-meets-down-south vibe while the latter sways into the mist of some 60s psychedelic swirl. Her voice is textured and powerful, reminiscent of what a modern day, swampy version of what the aforementioned Janis Joplin might sound like. Logan certainly utilized the production skills of Orrison, and has also been creating videos to accompany her singles.

“A friend of mine, Cody Reid, who has played bass in my band and helped make the video for "Better Way," became friends with Brett (Orrison) while doing Hurricane Katrina cleanup in the Mississippi delta after the storm. I'm a fan of the Black Angels, and Cody mentioned that Brett had been working with them for a number of years, and offered to send some demos I had made. The demos were spacey and weird, and Brett loved it... and we got to record with him not long after that.”

Logan will be heading back to Florida for the holidays, spending time in her band’s studio space to write and record more songs. She also has a “Florida tour” set up, with shows in Sarasota, Orlando, Tampa, and in Clearwater supporting the legendary John Prine! “I will be in Florida for a couple months, writing, recording, and resetting myself on the beach. I'm singing Handel's Messiah with an oratorio group to keep my voice strong, and I also have some cool shows lined up with the band.”

To learn more about and listen to the multi-talented (dare I call her a Renaissance woman) Kim Logan, please visit www.kimlogan.net, www.facebook.com/kimloganmusic and www.youtube.com/user/kimloganmusic.