Some weather coming to town

Jan 26 2024

By Amy Kenny

Tamara Lindeman is a winter person. It’s one of the reasons she’s excited to be bringing her band, The Weather Station, to the Yukon on Jan. 31.

“I think I make really wintery music,” she says over the phone while on a train from Montreal to Toronto, where she’s based. “I’ve toured a lot all over the world and I find that my music resonates with people in northern places.” People in Scotland, and colder parts of Canada tend to gravitate towards her sound, she says, which has been described over the years as moody, earthy, folk-based, and fluid. It’s spare, but lush, and somehow full of space. 

“It’s not music for the warmth,” she says, laughing. “It’s introspective and internal and thought-driven. That’s the kind of person I am, so it resonates with people who experience this long, dark, interior time.” 

Though Lindeman has been making it for years, this will only be her second time visiting the territory. The first was for Dawson City Music Festival with The Weather Station. 

Lindeman started the band in 2006. Its lineup has changed over the years. So has its sound—2017’s self-titled album veered more toward rock than the band’s three previous records—but Lindeman has always been the frontwoman. And the music, at its core, has always been asking the same questions, according to her, even when it sounds different. 

“I think each album I kind of see almost as a whole new project. Aesthetically, musically and visually, I see them all as different and I want them to be different.”

That said, when she thinks of her lyrics, she says she’s been working through the same themes and questions over the course of three EPs and six records (seven if you include the one she’s working on now). 

“I think a lot of the songs are really tangling with one’s own mind doing battle with the interior destructive tendencies,” she says. 

There’s a lot about the natural world, and the pain of trying to connect with it at a time when climate change is accelerating. Simultaneously, she asks questions about freedom, and how to be honest and authentically yourself amid forces that can hem you in. 

If those two things sound too different to exist in the same sonic space, think again. 

The Guardian called The Weather Station’s 2021 record, Ignorance, a masterpiece. It specifically cited the way Lindeman has of taking her personal experiences and zooming out from them to make them bigger, and more broadly relatable.  

“Shimmering breakup songs double as a rallying cry for our ravaged planet on this multilayered, slowly unfolding record,” read the review.   

Lindeman says she didn’t realize, when she was younger, that she was focussed on those themes. Now that she does, she doesn’t see herself running out of things to say about them anytime soon. 

“If anything my struggle right now is feeling like I have too much to say and feeling how upset at how little you can fit into a song. How much the song is just one tiny piece,” she says. “I need to start writing novels or something with a wider canvas.”

Fortunately, for her, the music gives her more space to explore. For Lindeman, the lyrics tell part of the story and the music tells another. 

She’ll be bringing the full story to the Yukon Arts Centre for a mainstage show at 7 p.m. on Jan. 31, (purchase tickets here) and to Dënäkär Zho/The Klondike Institute of Art & Culture Ballroom in Dawson City at 7:30 p.m. on February 2. Purchase here for the Dawson City show.