Local 913, Episode 36: Cold Weather
For the final weeks of 2015, we’re focusing on our top five favorite local albums of the year. This week, we highlight Cold Weather and their excellent album, When Waking. Formed in 2012, the chamber pop, indie folk band, Cold Weather has a gentle touch that might just knock you right over with their delicate, yet intense new album When Waking. Produced by Jake Hanner of Donora, When Waking will please fans of Elliott Smith, Mazzy Star and Cat Power. Cold Weather is essentially the project of Mark Ramsey, whose soft vocals sounds so similar to Elliott Smith, you almost can’t even believe it. There are songs on the album that not only have Smith’s vocal tone, but also that emotional delivery that sounds like Ramsey’s not actually going to get the words out. Even though their band name suggests that members grew up in colder climates, everyone is actually from the south: drummer Alex Platz is from Georgia, bassist Sarah Lacy from North Carolina, Ramsey is also from North Carolina and Alabama. As a middle school/high school kid in Alabama before the internet, Mark Ramsey spent a lot of time writing letters to bands and indie labels. A few years ago he came across some of that correspondence including a fan club newsletter signed by all three members of Nirvana. This came at a time when he had been unemployed for about 10 months and was searching for funds buy a keyboard. He put the newsletter up on eBay and was then able to buy the keyboard he now plays with Cold Weather. Producer Jake Hanner, who has been the production master-mind of the indie-pop Donora, shows his versatility when working with Cold Weather, adding his magic touch here and there, but letting Ramsey and the rest of the band set the tone for this fantastic album. Of the song “All Is Night,” Ramsey says, “I’m pretty sure that every single instrument available in Jake Hanner's studio made it onto the recording of this song. In addition to vocal, guitars, piano, bass & drums there are multiple hammond organs, a pump organ, saxophone, glockenspiel, synths, toy piano, and many more that I can't remember.” Ramsey says he wanted the song to open the album because musically it lays out the instrumentation for the rest of the record. Lyrically the song is meant as an allegory that sets up some of the emotional themes of When Waking and kind of acts like a trailer for the album. For more on Cold Weather, go to their Facebook.