Fusing elements of blues, jazz, folk and gypsy music, South For Winter was formed in September 2017 by New Zealander Nick Stone, Coloradan Dani Cichon, and Michigander Alex Stradal. The trio quickly dug their heels into the Nashville music scene, releasing two EPs and completing both a 15-state national tour, followed by an international tour to Canada all in one year!. South for Winter are now recording their debut album in Nashville with Grammy-nominated producer Matt Leigh of The Tracking Room.
The second single off of their debut album,“Ten Black Crows” is laced with South For Winter’s well-known hypnotizing vocals, sultry guitar riffs, and pummeling drum kit. The gypsy jazz anthem “Ten Black Crows” weaves through elements of contemporary rock while still staying consistent with the Nashville based collectives powerhouse blues sound. Alluring smokey vocals and whimsical melodies take over the speakers while the soulful lyricism take the listener on a genre-bending journey. Near the conclusion of “Ten Black Crows”, South For Winter’s explosive and upbeat delivery completely changes the sultry yet melancholic theme and acts as a powerful encore to already killer track. South For Winter has outdone themselves again and we can’t wait for their new album! Stay on the lookout for this eclectic group!
Check out the brand new single “Ten Black Crows” here and read more below in our exclusive interview!
Hey South For Winter! Welcome back! What have you been up to since your last release of “Twine”?
(Alex): Thanks so much! Since the release of Twine, we've pretty much been going all-out with the writing and recording of our debut album. And all three of us are still working full-time haha so it's been a crazy last few months.
(Nick): There's been a lot of rewriting and pre-production on the songs leading up to the recording phase. We'd mostly self-produced our music previously, so having a new set of ears with our producer Matt Leigh has been incredible - and terrifying haha, since all three of us are musical perfectionists and it can be hard to release artistic control. But we love the ideas he's brought in and the time we've had in the studio has been unbelievable. We're blown away with how the songs are coming along!
We love your new single “Ten Black Crows”! What is the meaning behind the lyrics? What was the writing process like?
(Dani): Thank you, we're so glad! I'd had a pop cowrite one week with a song that had a "wild West"-type theme, and I guess that concept was stuck in my head. I was out for a walk one day and had the idea for the chorus - "Ten black crows, circling overhead, 'Any final words?' Is what the hangman said.'" I went home and sang it to Nick, he immediately played that great bluesy guitar lick you hear in the verses, and they just fit together perfectly.
(Nick): That main guitar lick was originally part of an old instrumental I'd written years ago. Actually, a number of riffs from that instrumental have become songs on our upcoming album! Co-writing with Dani has brought many old ideas back to life. Her melodies help direct the chord progressions, and vice-versa with my riffs. Also, I love a good tempo change in a song, and Ten Black Crows does just that - going from a swampy groove to a knee-slapping good time. For me, it makes the song a lot of fun to perform live, and for the audience it's an unexpected change that kinda pulls you in and takes you for a spin.
(Dani) By the way, Ten Black Crows is a super dark song lyrically - it's a murder ballad about an 1800's outlaw robbing trains and bringing these "ten black crows" of death with him until he finds himself face-to-face with a hangman's noose and the same ten black crows, now spelling out his own fate. When we first wrote it, we really thought no one would like it because it's got all these tempo changes and is a song about death haha - but for some reason, every time we played it live, people stopped what they were doing to listen and would later tell us it was their favorite song of ours. It's a true testament to how you never know what people will like!
Who are your musical influences? How do you draw from them for inspiration?
(Nick): We have so many influences for our music, and that's probably why it's so eclectic. As a guitarist I've always loved the loose swag of Jimmy Page, the technicality and emotive bending of David Gilmore, the voracity and finger-picking style of Lindsey Buckingham! In more recent years I have found influence in artists such as Ben Howard, Shakey Graves and Jose Gonzalez.
(Alex): I'm a punk-rock guy, so it was fun to go back to my roots with this song and play more palm-muted guitar and chugging, driving cello parts. The squeal I played on cello just before the rhythm change was also definitely inspired by "Devil Went Down to Georgia."
(Dani): Lyrically, my influences were Barton Hollow by the Civil Wars, Bottom of the River by Delta Rae, and Ghostriders in the Sky by Johnny Cash.
What overall theme can your fans expect from your much anticipated new album?
(Dani): That every single song will sound entirely different from the last one haha. Our next single's an incredibly happy, mandolin-driven stomp-clap track.
(Nick): What I love about working with our producer, Matt Leigh, is his ability to transform our sound to reach its maximum potential while still maintaining who we are at the forefront. On this debut album you can expect to hear a full, matured, developed sound. Although we've made this album a little more electric than previous releases, it still maintains its folk/Americana roots with an emphasis on poetic lyrics, acoustic instrumentation, strong harmonies and swelling cello.
(Alex): I agree with Nick - this album is still very much us an acoustic trio, but it feels like we finally have the tools and the producer to fully realize our vision. Our lyrical imagery tends to be very vivid in our songs, and for the album we've focused on creating an equally vivid soundscape to match that.
Can we have a hint at a title or release date of your upcoming album?
(Dani): We're still debating the title, but the album release will be in early 2020.
(Alex): The third single will definitely be out by this October though (right before we tour to the West Coast for the first time), so keep that on the radar!
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