Artist: South For Winter
Release date: January 7, 2018 (physical form / digital download available late January)
South for Winter, self-titled EP by Nashville-based folk country band South for Winter, feels like walking through a wheat field in tall boots and a flowing skirt at dusk.
South for Winter is very reminiscent of The Civil Wars, with twangy guitar and smooth, subtle male-female harmonies (particularly in "Fallen Seeds"), and lilting percussion, but with a slightly more alternative spin. Vocalist Dani Cichon's voice is clear and strong like a mountain spring, creating an appealing crossover experience for people who might enjoy indie-folk/alt rock more than country. The melodies are interesting and thoughtful, most notable in "Devil is A'Callin," and the cello adds a sophisticated layer.
The lyrics also bring a definite Southern Gothic/Country flair, not dissimilar to The Civil Wars, with phrases speaking to "Mama," "Sister," and "Brother" and lines like "Let the waters rise and put out the fire in your eyes" in "Fallen Seeds." Within that same genre (especially calling back to the Southern Gothic threads), there's a lot of references to religion and religious themes without the songs themselves feeling in any way evangelical or exclusive.
Overall, South for Winter is a very impressive EP -- the music is polished and well-produced, the vocals are smooth and engaging, and the tracks are clearly the product of careful intention and creative vision. South for Winter is definitely a band to keep on the radar!
Take a listen to their music on SoundCloud, Spotify, and YouTube, and stay up to date with them on Facebook. Continue reading below to check out an interview* with vocalist Dani, where we talk favorite tracks, how the group formed, and more!
Q: When crafting songs, do you tend to flesh out the instrumentals with the lyrics finding their place later, or do the lyrics come to you first?
A: When it comes to writing the songs, we tend to split the roles, but write most of the song together - for example, Nick might come forward with a great guitar idea that I'll create lyrics and melodies for, then we'll craft the rest of the song around that. Or, I'll come forward with a melody or lyrical idea, and Nick will create guitar parts to match it. We both have a lot of input into each others' parts, though, so the songs are usually a collaborative effort.
Q: Each track on your EP has a slightly different vibe to it, without straying too far from your overall staple sound. Which is your favorite track on the EP and why?
A: "Ten Black Crows" has always been my personal favorite to perform, and I know that it's Nick's favorite recorded song on the EP due to its energy, rhythmic changes, and bluesy guitar parts - but after the songs were recorded, "Devil is A'Callin" became my favorite.
Our friend, Chris Kearney, actually came in after the songs were completely recorded and threw in some last-minute percussion on four of our tracks. He played on a massive floor tom (almost like a timpani) and sticks in "Devil is A'Callin", and I feel like it took the song to another level and made it much more powerful and dynamic.
Q: Since you and Nick initially met while in Peru, how did the two of you connect and come together to create music in Nashville?
A: The second song on the EP, "Fallen Seeds", was actually written on a rooftop a few days after we met in Peru. It was kind of a magical experience where we clicked musically, and even though the end product was completely different from music we'd written before, we loved the song that came out of it.
We dated long-distance for three years until I moved from Nashville to New Zealand for Nick in 2016, then in April 2017 he moved back to Nashville for me. We were in different projects throughout the entire relationship, and hadn't really written much music together after "Fallen Seeds", but when he moved to Nashville we decided to try doing this project together. And it kept snowballing when Alex (our cellist) joined the band to now.
Q: Which artist(s) would you love to play a show with?
A: The Civil Wars have always been one of our main inspirations, but unfortunately with them no longer being together, it's not quite a possibility. Personally, I'd love to play a show with Delta Rae - their song "Bottom of the River" was a major influence on the ideas and vibe of the song "Devil is A'Callin", and their harmonies and live show are absolutely incredible. For Nick, it would be Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, Ben Howard, or Fleet Foxes; he loves beautiful, folky songs, and has always said these artists makes some of the most amazing music of our time.
*EP Review by J.M
*Interview by Kayla Lee