Kim Churchill picked up the guitar at age four and was writing and performing his own music before graduating from high school. He tours Canada this summer

Kim Churchill picked up the guitar at age four and was writing and performing his own music before graduating from high school. He tours Canada this summer

Classic chords

Guitarist Kim Churchill returns to Canada for nationwide tour this summer

Canada has become a second home for a young guitarist from Australia.

Kim Churchill returns to Nanaimo as part of a nationwide tour this summer.

Churchill, 20, plays two shows at Diners Rendezvous, beginning June 24 at 8:30 p.m., and an all-ages show June 28 at 8 p.m.

“It’s like a homecoming gig,” Churchill said. “The energy in the room is almost like a festival.”

The guitarist, singer and songwriter picked up the instrument at the age of four and learned his first chords from his mom, who was learning guitar at the same time.

“It was more my mom – she sort of thrust it at me,” he said. “It was very slow progress I’m sure.”

The lessons continued and at some point – Churchill said there was no real defining moment – classical guitar became more than a hobby and a potential career.

Classical guitar requires successful completion of exams and Churchill said the competitive nature of a teenager motivated him to achieve.

“It felt like I was achieving at a higher level at classical guitar,” Churchill said.

He was playing shows in high school and started writing his own songs. Since then, he played major festivals across Australia, winning the country’s Young Folk Artist of the Year Award in 2009. Last year he made inroads in Canada, establishing a fan base and signing with a Canadian record label to distribute his music.

“I love the fact that I’ve been accepted so well over there,” he said.

This summer’s tour includes stops at Montreal International Jazz Festival and the Squamish Music Festival in addition to shows in the small venues. Festivals create their own excitement and allow artists to reach a wider audience, he said.

“I really enjoy the festival scene for that,” Churchill said.

Although Canada is different from his native country, he finds many aspects that make Canada feel like home.

“I see a lot more similarities than differences,” he said.

Tickets for the June 24 show are $20/advance; $25/door, while the all-ages show on June 28 is $20; $15/10-18 year olds. Please call 250-740-1133.