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Kimmel and the Heard present ‘Buoyancy’

Submitted photo The album cover of Ian Kimmel’s new album “Buoyancy.” Kimmel will promote his the album during a show Friday at The Grand featuring him and his father Dick Kimmel.

NEW ULM — Musician Ian Kimmel will return to New Ulm with his band and his dad, Dick Kimmel, Friday.

Starting at 8 p.m. Ian Kimmel and the Heard will perform songs from their new album “Buoyancy” and from “Nothing to Say, Nothing to Tell” for free at The Grand Kabaret.

“Buoyancy” is a five-song album. It was released earlier this month and is available in digital format only.

With the new album, Ian is mixing his bluegrass roots with pop/rock styles.

“My dad is all bluegrass, so I got the bluegrass influence from that,” Ian said. “Then I live in a world where pop music is playing all of the time, you get used to pop music and you respect the side of pop music with the great production and the great stuff that is coming out but then you get these lyrics that are just boneheaded and anybody could write these things. It is kind of a mixture of wanting to create the pop music I hear and enjoy listening to but have a really deep meaning behind it.”

The album uses all real instruments paired with devices for manipulating voices and looping machines that can record a segment and play it back over and over, Ian said.

“The newer stuff is a lot more experimental,” Kimmel said. “It is very square music, you are not going to get lost in it but it has a lot of new sounds and new production mixed in with it.”

The album has been in production for the last six months. Most of the songs on it were created by Ian and his bandmates without the intent of an album.

They realized that with some work all the songs could be finished, so Ian put them together into one album.

Some pieces of the songs have been around for years, Ian said. The chorus to “Dawn” was a long-forgotten memo on his phone, in one example.

The award-winning artist emphasized how he focuses on the lyrics of his songs.

“My style of songwriting is very lyrical, so it is really lyric-based, lyric-focused, make sure there is a lot of meaning behind each thing,” Kimmel said. “Because (for) me, myself, music is kind of therapy, especially writing music is therapy.”

Ian made these songs so they would sound like “something that could be on top 40 radio but yet at the same time be examined in a songwriting class,” he said.

Ian began performing publicly at age 7, forming his first band when he was 11, according to a 2015 biography by Len Kalakian.

He plays guitar, mandolin and dobro and performs all the vocals for his music. In 2014 Ian won the Mandolin Player of the Year award from the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America.

Ian and the Heard is a four-piece band. Along with Ian are Mark Donohue on bass, Jacob Harelick on drums and Louis Courts, vocals.

This is the second iteration of Ian and the Heard, with members pulled from musicians at Berkley College.

Dick will also perform at the Friday concert. Ian will return to New Ulm for a release party July 15 at The Pantry for his dad’s newest album “Fiddle & Mandolin” with duet partner Pamela Longtine.

“Buoyancy” is available for purchase online at Amazon and can be streamed online via Spotify. More information is available at iankimmel.com.

Connor Cummiskey can be emailed at ccummiskey@nujournal.com.

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