28 Jun 2022

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


There are no releases to display for South for Winter.

Other Reviews By Kev Rowland

Anxiety Club - Single Review: Carousel
24 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Here we have the latest single from Wellington-based Anxiety Club, taken from the forthcoming album Old Dreams, but anyone expecting more of their guitar-led music is going to be in for quite a surprise as there has been a major shift in their sound, caused by circumstance as much as by design. Like many bands unable to perform or tour over the pandemic, they used the downtime to focus on new songs, but that was not their only issue.
Capital Theatre - Album Review: A Hero's Journey
24 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Back in March last year I made my way to the Tuning Fork to catch a three-band bill, one of whom was Capital Theatre. At that point I had not heard any of their material, so was mightily impressed to discover they had recorded a concept album for their debut with Mike Clink (Guns ‘n’ Roses, Megadeth etc) in America, and that night they were playing it in sequence.
Sam Bartells - Single Review: Good Intentions
23 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Last year I saw Sam Bartells at The Tuning Fork with a full band, and then a few weeks ago he was playing acoustically at a tiny venue in Ponsonby with just a keyboard player for support (what an incredible night that was). In some ways his latest single is a combination of those two very different facets, as the central core of his music is always his acoustic and vocals.
Recitals - Single Review: Rock Dove
19 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Recitals are a 7-piece band based in both Te Whanganui-A-Tara (Wellington) and Tamaki Makaurau (Auckland) and comprise Xanthe Rook (bass, vocals), Tharushi Bowatte (trumpet), Carla Camilleri (keyboards, vocals), Olivia Wilding (cello), Christian Dimick (guitar, vocals), Josh Finegan (drums), and Sam Curtiss (guitar). Even before playing the first single from their debut album Orbit I (released at the end of August on Flying Nun Records) I was intrigued by the line-up as it is unusual to find both a trumpeter and cellist in the same band, and having now listened to the single I am still intrigued, but now it is because I am wondering what the album is like.
Matt Joe Gow - Album Review: Break, Rattle and Roll
19 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
After touring and playing numerous festivals in support of Seven Years, Matt returned to the studio in 2018 to record the follow-up, Break, Rattle and Roll. Released to wide acclaim, it went one better than his previous release and was awarded Best Country Album in the 2019 Music Victoria Awards.
Gig Review: Jenny Mitchell @ Kumeu Live, Kumeu - 18/06/2022
18 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Over to Kumeu Arts Centre tonight to catch two Country singers, along with ace photographer Steve Bone who I had not worked with since Dragon in February last year due to both Covid and his schedule getting in the way of things. We both got there early enough to catch up with the ladies and listen to the soundchecks beforehand and it was obvious we were on for a good night.
T-Bone - Album Review: Good n Greasy
16 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Here we have the debut album by Wellington-based Kiwi folk Americana act T-Bone, and mighty fine it is too. The quintet comprises Gerry Paul, Aaron Stewart, Richard Klein, Michael Muggeridge, and Cameron 'Dusty' Burnell, and they bring together an acoustic mix of zydeco, old-time, blues, bluegrass, and folk with Americana to create something which is incredibly enjoyable and full of depth.
Steve Wells - Album Review: Songs For Summer Rain
16 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
When I heard that Steve Wells (ex-Fur Patrol) was releasing his debut solo album I had no idea what to expect, but I know it wasn’t this! For a musician who made his name as guitarist in a multi-platinum band, there are way more keyboards here than one would expect, and the production makes this album sound huge.
View All Articles By Kev Rowland

NZ Top 10 Singles

    Kate Bush
    Drake feat. 21 Savage
    Harry Styles
    Cat Burns
    Doja Cat
    Jack Harlow
    Post Malone And Doja Cat
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