Vancouver native Justin Klump stays in tune

He focuses on songwriting as he moves to Nashville, releases 2nd album

By Ashley Swanson, Columbian Features News Coordinator



If You Go

 What: Justin Klump album release concert.

 When: 7 p.m. Saturday.

 Where: The Old Church, 1422 S.W. 11th Ave., Portland.

 Tickets: $10 advance, $12 at the door, 503-222-2031 or

Sometimes you’ve changed enough to warrant a reintroduction. That’s what Vancouver native Justin Klump is doing with his new album, released this week. Though it’s his second album, the singer-songwriter decided it should be a self-titled one.

“This album feels kind of like a reintroduction to me as an artist. A lot of time has passed, and I’ve done a lot of life since (the last album),” Klump said. Since the release of his first album, “Sticks & Stones,” in 2012, life has included moving to Nashville, Tenn., to focus on songwriting, buying a home with his wife, and welcoming their first child.

It’s also marking Klump’s new approach to music and songwriting, he said, focusing on making his lyrics and message the king of his songs: “what is connecting with me as a human, and what do I see going on in life around me.”

The album features 10 songs recorded with producer Andy Hunt at his studio in Nashville. “(Hunt) brings a lot of expertise and knowledge,” Klump said. “Having someone who held the reins with the technical side of recording.”

The album features contemporary folk influences, with guitar, percussion and strings holding the bulk of the melody. On much of the album, Klump’s voice holds a wistful reverberation for hope, even in the face of struggle. The song “Keep Your Head Up” opens with a solo guitar line and Klump’s voice singing “there’s hope in the darkness, when you can’t find the light.” In “The Night Is Young,” the chorus refrain goes “someday, real soon, we will shine. Even stars are covered up sometimes.”

Taking a different angle, Klump said the song “Paper Plane” embodies keeping a light-hearted approach to life to cope with its ups and downs and stress.

“I was thinking about being a kid, making paper airplanes and throwing them up to the sky, having them float down and throwing them up again,” Klump said.

Songwriters and guitarists James Taylor and Damien Rice are among his musical influences. When he arrived in Nashville, Klump was faced with the two paths of a songwriter, he said, writing for himself or writing for other musicians.

“Being an artist is so essential to who I am,” he said.

“If you strip away all the instruments, I want the song to still come across and still connect with the people listening to it, connect with their lives,” said Klump.

“My lyrics are introspective, reflective. I think growing up with the rain, I wasn’t able to go outside all the time, so that introspective bent comes from being inside.”

“The Northwest has a tendency to have a do-it-yourself mentality,” he said. A lot of that mentality has come through while touring, as he would wear the different hats of promoter, booker and musician at concerts across the country.

As part of his album release, Klump will perform at the Old Church in downtown Portland. Austin Jenckes will open the show. See the If You Go box for details. For more information about Justin Klump and his new album, and to hear some of the album, visit