Someone call Mother Nature, Cold Weather Company wants their Winter Back.
Deep within the jungle that is Northeast D.C., beneath the shadows cast by our nation's capital and historic monuments, rests a humble bohemian oasis for coffee & music-lovers alike. On a typical evening at Ebenezer's (@ebenezerscoffeehouse), it's easy to get caught up in the mellow atmosphere amongst amiable banter and grinding coffee beans. But on this cold March night, not a word was spoken. All those in attendance were too preoccupied, captivated by the soothing sounds of the visiting rising stars from New Jersey, Cold Weather Company, who were there to claim their own small piece of history.
Coming off of F St., I whipped open the door (late, of course), blasting a draft of chill air onto the opening performer, Colton Kayser (@colton.kayser).
It took all of thirty seconds for me to make my way over to his stand and purchase an LP of his most recent album, Place to Settle. Colton was in the middle of gutting his heart out in Jack Johnson's signature singer-songwriter style about a topic we can all relate to: showing up at an ex-lover's door with a shopping cart (literally) of gifts, begging for her forgiveness. Personally, I would trade all of the money I've spent on ex-girlfriends for another opportunity to hear this man sing in person. His jazzy chords and soothing voice in songs like "Bad Guy", "Love of My Life" and "Miss the Fourth of July" really allow the audience to glimpse who Colton is: an incredibly humble and talented musician who tells stories through his words and melodies. Colton has mastered an art that many in this day in age have taken for granted – that is, being able to tell a complete and heart-felt narrative in each one of his songs. Check him out and let him show you for himself.
Enter Cold Weather Company (@coldweathercompany). After internally debating for a while how to best approach describing these three insanely talented gentlemen, I've decided to introduce them each individually:
First, primary lead singer, rhythm guitarist, and soon to be heartthrob of ladies everywhere is Brian Curry (@briancurrymusic). The timbre of Brian's voice reminds one of a Marcus Mumford (Mumford and Sons) or a more mature Robin Pecknold (Fleet Foxes). His voice is powerful and sure. Sporting his koa Takamine, he delivers a flawless combination of guitar and vocals that has everyone in the room willing to pay any price for a cup-of-joe.
Next, is the tall and talented keyboardist Steve Shimchick (@sshimchick). Steve brings a full range of sound to the trio by providing the bass notes through the keyboards, while also harmonizing with the guitars to create hauntingly full and beautiful chord progressions. In his voice is a little bit of Chris Martin and his lyrics are poetic and relatable. Every song that CWC performs has its own personality, as does everyone in the group. Steve's musical personality shines through in "Another Involved" and "Gettysburg". As for his on stage personality, while he's not busily tapping away at his keyboard Steve enjoys entertaining the crowd through his own brand of adorably awkward, pun-heavy comedy.
Last but certainly not least is the group's dashing lead guitarist, Jeff Petescia (@jeffpetescia). Don't worry if at first something seems a little off about a picture of Jeff performing; he plays his acoustic guitar upside down. Now you might be thinking ' oh that's cool, Jimi Hendrix did that..' but you would be mistaken. Jimi Hendrix took all the strings off the guitar, flipped it the other way so a lefty could play it, and restrung it the usual way one would string a guitar. Jeff Petescia flipped the whole guitar over, strings and all, and learned to play upside down! Coming from someone who plays guitar, it's truly remarkable to watch. And although I don't want to at all underestimate Jeff's talent, I would hypothesize that one of the reasons that this young man is such a genius guitar player is because of his playing in this fashion. He quite literally sees the guitar in a way that almost no one has ever seen before. I would love to ask Jeff to make me a little booklet of his favorite chords, because the ones he chooses are amazing and my brain isn't spatially aware enough to flip the guitar the other way in real time so I can figure out what exactly it is that he is doing.
Together, these three gentlemen create an unforgettable sound that will have all listeners humming the melodies for the foreseeable future. Their padded three-part harmonies are themselves enough to strip out and form a three-man a cappella group. Together with their full chords and carefully crafted melodies Cold Weather Company is in my opinion going to be household name very soon. Jeff, Steve, and Brian all show their versatility and wide range of skills in each song. They all can play the part of lead vocals, lead melody, backing instrument and backing vocalist. Their experimental style also includes having a personality within each song. You can tell which songs were primarily written by what member, because that particular member will take on a certain wide-eyed enthusiasm, while having his closest friends behind him to back him up while he tells his story. Cold Weather Company's east coast tour-,"A Folded Lettour," is just finishing up, but follow them on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for all their upcoming shows and also to download their newest album (Spotify, iTunes, Soundcloud), A Folded Letter. I bought a copy and it's been on repeat ever since I saw them last week. If you love Fleet Foxes, Mumford and Sons, Coldplay, or three painfully handsome young men with soul-soothing voices, then give Cold Weather Company a chance, and you will be "Wide-Eyed" in amazement.
Music is meant to evoke emotion. Sound can alter mood better than any event, better than any drug. This is because since the mind will always restore itself to a state of equilibrium, our evolution has blessed us with the ability to retract back to an emotional steady state. Music, however, creates a memory that shifts into your long term memory, it stays with you. A good album should take one on an emotional journey. It should peak and valley: in meter, in tone, in rhythm and feeling. The best part about all of this, is that it can be relived, the way moments are relived through photos of times past. If a musician is successful, they will have created a performance and production of feeling that is a multi-sensory experience, permanently documented for listeners to revisit that state of mind and be reminded of the way the felt when they saw that show or heard that song for the first time. I don't think I have ever felt so inspired and hopeful as when I saw Cold Weather Company perform for the first time. I know that I will frequently return to their recordings to maybe catch a glimpse of the way I felt when I listened to their emotional performance on a brisk winter night in Northeast Washington, D.C.
Spotify: Cold Weather Company
This article was written by Anthony Tortorello. Follow Anthony on Instagram @buonappetort and Kosimo on all social media platforms @KOSIMOgroup