Music

WinterStock

Winter is here

Attend

What: Winterstock

When: 7 pm Wed., Jan. 30

Where: Lincoln Theatre, 712 S. 1st St., Mount Vernon

Cost: $20-$25

Info: http://www.lincolntheatre.org

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Some people look forward to winter. They wax their skis and snowboards, endlessly refresh the snow report and gleefully live according to the age-old mantra that there are “no friends on a powder day.”

Although I have lived among such people all of my life—I even used to recreate with them back when I was trying to be a skier—I’ve never been winter’s biggest fan. Every fall, as the days grow colder, grayer and wetter, the approach of winter causes me to only feel the emotions that fall on the spectrum between full-on denial and creeping dread.

WinterStock was obviously created with people like me in mind. The stated purpose of the event, which takes place every year during the darkest days of winter, is to act as an antidote to the blues that can overtake a person when faced with nothing but gray skies, cold rain and general bleakness for months on end.

There’s just one problem: WinterStock is on the horizon—it happens Fri., Feb. 1 at Mount Vernon’s Lincoln Theatre—but it almost seems like winter itself has yet to arrive. Sure, it’s been cold—kinda. And we’ve had some rain—sorta. Yes, the wind has definitely made its presence felt a couple of times. And yet, the climate that I associate with the calendar’s coldest season—namely endless low-hanging gray skies, bone-chilling cold and day after day of rain both the vertical and sideways varieties—has taken a backseat to weather that has felt downright balmy from time to time. I have not had to don every single item of clothing I own in order to take an evening stroll even once this year, and saying “Brrr” is only my secondary form of communication rather than assuming its standard place at the top of my most-used winter words.

Without a proper winter, is WinterStock even necessary?

Of course it is. One need not be in the throes of depression to kick up one’s heels and have a foot-stompin’ good time. The argument could even be made that a better time can be had when one’s spirit and layers of clothing are not quite so heavy.

As ever, WinterStock aims to bang for your buck, and with big shows featuring all-local lineups becoming rarer and rarer as time goes by, the wise move is to get while the gettin’ remains good.

Having spent years honing their musical craft—and having picked up a Cascadia Weekly Best of Skagit award for doing so—the Sky Colony is the perfect Skagit band to anchor a celebration such as WinterStock. Their vocal harmonies and neofolk sensibilities are transportive, and they place you’ll be transported to is most likely Laurel Canyon, which is as steeped in sunshine as we typically are in rain. Last summer, the band launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for their second full-length album and set their goal at $12,775—which, let’s face it, is a sizey chunk of cash. They raised it all and then some, a thing that speaks to their ever-growing popularity. The Sky Colony wasted no time getting in the studio, and keeping their responsibilities to themselves and their fans and followers at the forefront, set about what they termed “carefully cultivating intentional music.” Some of those new songs will no doubt be on the set list for WinterStock, so the event will act as a sneak preview of sorts for their forthcoming album.

Also on roster is Josh Clauson, who became a fixture in the Pacific Northwest music scene as the founder of Flowmotion (later the True Spokes) and the annual musical campout that draws thousands each year to the tiny Darrington/Oso community, Summer Meltdown. As such, he is no stranger to playing on stages of all sizes and varieties, however his recent foray into becoming a solo acoustic artist is both deconstruction and evolution for the talented musician. His latest musical output is Driftless, an album he wrote with his wife, and if you’re accustomed to seeing him play with all the personnel and energy of Flowmotion behind him, this quieter, gentler, more contemplative Clauson will be an intriguing treat.

Rounding out this year’s WinterStock is Lizzie Weber, who hails originally from St. Louis, moved to Studio City, Calif. to become an actress, went back to her hometown to finish college, and then made her way to the Pacific Northwest where she splits her time between Seattle and Fidalgo Island. She honed her musical craft at all points of her journey, and not long ago traveled to Iceland, where she collaborated with the Swell Season’s Marketa Irglova, surprise Oscar winner for “Falling Slowly” from the movie Once. Weber’s songwriting chops are no joke, and her unwillingness to be hemmed in by any particular genre make her music more interesting that your standard-issue singer/songwriter fare.

As has become WinterStock custom, the event pairs music with the plentiful premium beer that can be found around these parts, and this year 192 Brewing Co., Anacortes Brewery, and Bastion Brewery will provide the pints that will slake your thirst between songs. And for those of you who have not managed to escape the cold, creeping grasp of the winter blues, dancing and drinking your sorrows away is a remedy as ancient as Old Man Winter.

Sugar Ray
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