4 Dec 2023

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

South for Winter - EP Review: Acoustic Sessions

22 Jun 2022 // A review by Kev Rowland

Earlier this year I agreed to review a concert of the Nashville-based husband and wife duo of Nick Stone (vocals, guitar) and Dani Cichon (vocals, mandolin), without previously having heard any of their music and it is fair to say I was blown away. I was fortunate enough to see them on two consecutive nights, and the mix of Dani’s pure, clear vocals with Nick’s more classical tones was something to behold. It was only after I had seen them that I was able to pay attention to their debut album, Luxumbra, which also features the third member of the band, cellist Alex Stradal who was unable to make the journey to Aotearoa. That 2020 album is a delight, and they funded it with a Kickstarter campaign which raised more than 120% of its funding goal, so they have now gone back into the studio and re-recorded four of the songs from the album totally acoustically.

Apparently, the songs were chosen by their fans, and if I was pushed to make a selection, I would say it is hard to disagree with this quartet, as it clearly shows the different elements of the band. It doesn’t say if this is a live in-studio recording but it would not surprise me if that was the case as it contains that vibrancy and energy which only comes from a live performance. When the duo was here I could not imagine them being any better, but there is no doubt that Alex provides additional elements to the music, either in an orchestral manner or providing a stronger bottom end, utilising the full range of sounds available with a cello. The EP starts acapella, with just some reverb on the harmonies as Nick and Dani launch into the light number which is Always You, and immediately we are transfixed, all attention on the vocals, with the mandolin, cello and acoustic guitar providing the perfect backdrop as Dani provides wonderful clarity, with Nick’s harmonies offsetting those clear sounds.

South For Winter have a couple of distinct styles, with murder ballads being one of them, dark and menacing, gothic and full of menace, emotional and haunting. Devil Is A Callin’ is the first of these, with Alex’s cello creating a timbre and style which moves into a very dark place indeed. Twine brings back into a far warmer and friendly environment, with picked guitar the perfect accompaniment as Dani is far lighter in manner. This was the first single from the original album, inviting and gently bringing us closer so we don’t miss anything.

The final song is the one for me which is the absolute highlight, another murder ballad, Ten Black Crows. This was the very first song I ever heard them perform and I was in awe of what I was hearing back then. Since then, it has become a firm favourite, and the feelings being created with this number are dark, emotional, heartfelt, and deep. Alex provides a stirring bottom end, Dani and Nick’s voices join, and then the last minute allows them all to show off their chops as the voices lift, the music becomes more intense, and it feels like we are being dragged on a wild ride. South For Winter are back up North at the moment but let us hope they again decide to come South for our summer, as they are one of the most dynamic bands around. If you enjoy Americana and folk then this EP is essential, as is Luxumbra, and keep playing them until you can catch the guys yourselves. Awesome.

Cover Art Credit: Derik Hobbs

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About South for Winter

With a blend of dreamy acoustic duets, foot-stomping folk and bluesy murder ballads, New Zealand-born and Nashville-based South for Winter’s sound is as eclectic as their origins. The band is composed of New Zealander Nick Stone, Colorado native Dani Cichon, and Michigander Alex Stradal, and together the three multi-instrumentalists and songwriters combine elements such as cello, guitar, mandolin, and three-part harmonies into a genre-bending sound described by American Songwriter as “impeccable”.

South for Winter recorded their debut album Luxumbra in Nashville with Grammy award-winning producer Matt Leigh, and crowdfunded its independent release in 2020. Luxumbra has landed the band accolades such as a 'Most Wanted' Emerging Artist at Falcon Ridge Festival, 'Top DJ Pick' by NYC’s DJ John Platt in 2021, and official showcase artist at Folk Alliance International in 2022.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for South for Winter


Acoustic Sessions
Year: 2022
Type: EP
Kickstarter Covers
Year: 2021
Type: Album
Year: 2020
Type: Album

Other Reviews By Kev Rowland

Gig Review: Crushfest @ The Tuning Fork, Auckland - 07/07/2023
07 Jul 2023 // by Kev Rowland
So it was down to Tuning Fork for the first night of the second Crushfest festival. Tonight was going to be Wellington and Auckland bands, and then some of the same will be playing at the second night in Wellington next month.
Rain - Single Review: Love and War
15 Jun 2023 // by Kev Rowland
It has been quite a while since I last heard from Wellington-based singer songwriter Cathy Elizabeth, and back then Rain was seen solely as a studio project with Cathy being accompanied by Thomas Te Taite, who provided all the instrumentation including digital drums. Now they are a full band who have been performing live, and it is the first time they have recorded as such, with Thomas now, just providing acoustic guitar (plus engineering and producing etc.
Lost Vessels - Single Review: All This Time
01 Jun 2023 // by Kev Rowland
I must admit I was not that impressed when I first saw Lost Vessels play at Crushfest, something they later admitted to me was the worst gig of their career, but since then they have improved in leaps and bounds. This has been noticed by others on the Auckland circuit as they are getting more opportunities with better support slots, and I was not at all surprised when they won the Ding Dong Lounge Battle Of The Bands in November last year.
Unwanted Subject - Single Review: Sons of Savages
28 May 2023 // by Kev Rowland
I have caught Unwanted Subject in concert a few times over the last couple of years, and while they have been getting better each time I have seen them, I must admit that nothing prepared me for this, which right from the off is a monster. I have never heard them quite this is aggressive, nor as polished, and this multi-sectioned single sounds almost like a different band as they have pushed their metal roots to the max in this metalcore beast which sees them mixing and blending different genres to create something quite special.
Gig Review: Stray Dogs @ AUX, Auckland - 26/05/2023
28 May 2023 // by Kev Rowland
So it was back to Ding Dong Lounge on a Friday night for one of their infamous Emo nights, which tonight was a three-band bill with Stray Dogs having an extended set, supported by Altaea and then up first we had Blindr, a band new to me. Blindr are a quartet featuring Bill Caldwell (vocals, guitar), Blake Woodfield (lead guitar), Jack Power (bass), and Charlie McCracken (drums).
Gig Review: Turkey The Bird @ The Ministry of Folk, Auckland - 27/05/2023
27 May 2023 // by Kev Rowland
Back up to Auckland Guide Centre in Mount Eden tonight for my second consecutive gig (Sol suggested it was a turkey sandwich as I am at Vader tomorrow) to see Taranaki’s finest, Turkey The Bird at The Ministry of Folk. Before that we of course had Hoop, who are Al Baxter (vocals, guitar, harmonica, banjo, mandolin), Nick Edgar (vocals, guitar, ukulele, flute, harmonica), Emily Allen (violin, viola), Glenn Coldham (bass) while tonight Gary Hunt was filling in for drummer Rusty Knox.
This Silent Divide - Single Review: Beautiful Creature
25 May 2023 // by Kev Rowland
Here we have the latest single from Wellington-based melodic hard rock quartet This Silent Divide, entitled Beautiful Creature. I really enjoyed their Tall Stories EP, and they played a great gig at Dead Witch towards the end of last year, and this would have been recorded at about the same time.
Gig Review: Emily Rice @ Your Local Coffee Roasters, Pukekohe - 24/05/2023
24 May 2023 // by Kev Rowland
Earlier this week I had a message from Emily Rice asking me if I lived in South Auckland. When I responded I did, she asked if I would be interested in coming along to an event she was putting on in a coffee shop in Pukekohe to celebrate the release of her new single, Warenoa.
View All Articles By Kev Rowland

NZ Top 10 Singles

    Jack Harlow
    Tate McRae
    Doja Cat
    Doja Cat
    Teddy Swims
    Kenya Grace
    Ocean Alley
    Taylor Swift
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem