Tim Ketchum performs at Infinitea

Tim Ketchum of The Relief Committee gave an intimate performance at Infinitea on Dec. 30.  - Photo by A. Horton
Tim Ketchum of The Relief Committee gave an intimate performance at Infinitea on Dec. 30.
— image credit: Photo by A. Horton

By Phil McLachlan

Tim Ketchum has been rocking the guitar since the 70’s, and continued to do so on Friday night at Infinitea.

Raised in Calgary, Ketchum moved to Fernie 34 years ago. His mother who was very much involved in the music community, gave young Ketchum a view of the life of a musician, as she played in several country bands.

At the age of six, Ketchum picked up a guitar, and at the age of 55 he still loves what he does.

“Music is… I’d be pretty lost without it,” he said. “I just love music, all kinds.”

Starting out as a big Johnny Cash fan, Ketchum grew into Neil Young and rock-and-roll. This included other stars such as Bob Dylan and The Grateful Dead. Whatever music he is around, Ketchum appreciates and enjoys it.

The Relief Committee, the rock band with which Ketchum sings and plays guitar, formed in 1989 when Ketchum collaborated with his friend, Cam Kennedy. Bass player, Patti Burnett joined them six years ago.

Ketchum drives a school bus full time. In the past, he used to be the driver for the Fernie Ghostriders, the Kootenay Ice, the Trail Smoke Eaters, the employees at Line Creek and Greyhound as well.

Before this, Ketchum worked at the mine but when Westar shut down, he found himself out of work. This led him to study music at Selkirk College in Nelson.

Music hasn’t taken Ketchum to any huge venues or worldwide stages, but he is okay with that. Although he always strives to be the best he can, Ketchum is, “Happy to play music for anyone willing to listen.”

Ketchum and Kennedy write their own music, and find inspiration for each song through events in their own lives.

“It’s funny where it all comes from,” said Ketchum. “Every song I’ve written, I didn’t exactly choose to write, it just came out that way.”

Having played at the Calgary Stampede, Ketchum found it to be an incredible experience and dreams of one day playing at the Saddledome.

This latest performance at Infinitea was enjoyable for Ketchum, and he found it to be a nice, intimate setting.

“It was pretty nice, I’ve played there a couple of times now,” he said, adding that they were received enthusiastically by the small, yet encouraging crowd.

In his 34 years here, Ketchum has seen the live music scene change. At one point a band could make a thousand-or-more dollars per weekend. Nowadays, it’s hard to make a hundred dollars a night. With the change in demographic ever since the popularity boom of the slopes, Ketchum has seen DJ’s become far more popular than classic blues or rock.

“It seems like there’s fewer places to play now,” he said. “People don’t really want to pay for it.”

Despite the lack of riches and fame left in live shows, Ketchum has no plans on giving up his love for rock-and-roll.

“I can’t see it ending,” he said. “We’re all pretty close, and we all enjoy what we’re doing.”

“If you hear we’re playing come on out and see us play!” added Ketchum with a laugh.

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