Terra Lightfoot, The Weather Station, Evy Jane, Kimmortal

Terra Lightfoot

The Weather Station

The standby adjective for describing the music of young Toronto singer-songwriter Tamara Lindeman seems to be "old." After all, the 10 songs on her stellar second album as The Weather Station, last year's All of it was Mine, seem built from blocks of bluegrass, British balladry and country sadness. She clenches a banjo and picks a guitar beneath her rail-thin wisp of a voice, her words of sadness and sweetness, commitment and confusion taking the spotlight above elegantly spare arrangements.

But to call these songs old seems to imply that Lindeman—who has played banjo in a rock band and who was inspired to start making her own music by a rapping roommate—is pulling something wholesale from the past and trying to render it ready for the future. The Weather Station's repertoire, however, actually suggests a confluence of several continuums, a fortuitous intersection of parallel historic streams in the vision and voice of a worthy handler. On the plaintive "Running Around Asking," when Lindeman wonders aloud why an apparent lover has handled devotion in such a peculiar way, she's a blues moaner writing with the discerning lyrical mind of John Darnielle or Bill Callahan—that is, she sits on her grandmother's couch to mourn, and it is sea foam green, and it is snowing outside. During the brilliant opener "Everything I Saw," she plays the part of a caring but cautious farm girl, singing about rhubarb and digging in the dirt. But both her lucid individuality and the peculiar harmonies suggest the strength of Joni Mitchell or acolyte Joanna Newsom, clenching truth like a catch in the throat.

Across All of it was Mine, "old" begins to sublimate into "timeless." That word has its problems, too, because careers take time, and here's hoping that one of last year's most assured batches of songs is the start of exactly that. —Grayson Currin

In more detail:

The Weather Station is the project of Tamara Lindeman. Her second record, All of It Was Mine, was released in 2011 on You've Changed Records. The album immediately endeared itself to critics, garnering praise from Pitchfork, The Toronto Star, Exclaim, NOW, The Grid, The Globe and Mail, and countless blogs. On College Radio, the record wound up number four on the year end folk chart, number sixty eight overall. Meanwhile, Lindeman has toured extensively, into the US, around the Maritimes and Ontario/Quebec both as headliner and as support for Bahamas, Jason Collett, Jim Bryson, Jennifer Castle, Siskiyou, and many more. Festival dates include Dawson City Music Festival, Wolfe Island, Sappyfest, NXNE, CMW, Halifax Pop, Pop Montreal, and Hopscotch Music Festival in North Carolina. Most recently, she toured Japan. Upcoming, she'll be playing Hillside and more summer festivals. Her first record, The Line, supported by a tour with Timber Timbre, was a surprise success, acclaimed in the Toronto Star, Exclaim, and countless blogs, and receiving generous airplay on CBC, NPR, and campus radio. Meanwhile, Lindeman is a member of the mighty Bruce Peninsula, singing and playing banjo with them on stages from Hillside to SXSW. She was on the two most recent Daniel Romano records, sings with Marine Dreams, and will sing with Bahamas on an upcoming tour of Europe and the United States. She is involved in a new project led by Isla Craig, and has commenced producing a record for a new band Finally Brothers. Meanwhile, for The Weather Station, she is currently at work on her third full length album.

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