Review – “What Am I Going To Do With Everything I Know” – The Weather Station

reviewed by Laura Stanley WeatherStationWhatAmICoverWeb

The meditative spirit of Tamara Lindeman (The Weather Station) and subsequently her keen attention to detail as found in her lyrics is entrancing. With so many strong folk voices in Canada right now, it’s too much to say that Lindeman is the only one keeping folk music alive in this country but it feels too little to say that she is, simply, a great addition to this circle of folksters. Lindeman is a force. With her hushed vocals and instrumentals she draws you away from your busy (technology) filled life to a more organic sense of being. One where, for better or worse, feelings and the richness found in human experiences are at the forefront. 

Lindeman’s new EP, What Am I Going To Do With Everything I Know, feels like a return of The Weather Station. During the three years since All Of It Was Mine, Lindeman has been busy teaming up with the likes of Bahamas (Afie Jurvanen), Doug Paisley, Field Report and, as found in her 2013 Duets project, Daniel Romano, Steve Lambke (Baby Eagle), Ian Kehoe (Marine Dreams). Although this EP, and the full-length record slated for release in 2015, are touched by Daniel Romano and Megafaun and Jurvanen and Robbie Lackritz respectively, the intimacy of Lindeman alone is unmatched.

The brief twenty-two minute EP gives listeners plenty to reflect on without an overwhelming sense of sadness. According to the press release, Side A “examines knowledge” while side B is “a narrative, a love story in three parts.” Never breaking from the quiet acoustic tones that Lindeman continues to be firmly in control of, each of the six songs are simple yet hold a strength that is telling of an intelligent songwriter.

In the EP’s opening, Lindeman situates listens in a location that seems to attract those living in limbo – a friend’s couch. Cozy but never quite home (“…they had piles of bills and letters and all these photographs of people I would never meet”), Lindeman sings of the unfamiliarity of her surroundings not truly bringing comfort despite the listening ear of a friend with the lyric, “I don’t understand anything that has happened to me. Like I’m telling a friend and I don’t even believe me.”

The confidential nature of “Don’t Understand” is just the beginning of Side A’s sense that our shared scrutinizations will stay between ourselves. Already covered by Paper Beat Scissors (Tim Crabtree) and Michael Feuerstack, as heard on the Ho! Ho! Ho! Canada 5 compilation before its official release, the quick paced “What Am I Going To Do (With Everything I Know)” is one of the brightest spots in The Weather Station’s collection.

The narrative of Side B (the three part love story) follows the contemplative Side A appropriately and with ease. The “Soft Spoken Man” is the muse of the story with “Time” (whose muted drum inclusion makes it full sounding in this minimalistic set) being an ever present force pushing things towards uncertainty and an “Almost Careless” proposition (“you laughed and coloured and nodded yes”) ending the story, and EP, in happiness.

What Am I Going To Do With Everything I Know maintains Tamara Lindeman’s abilities to express the emotions that unite us all. Paired with a timeless folk style, we will be listening to The Weather Station for years to come. 

Top Tracks: “Don’t Understand,” “What Am I Going To Do (With Everything I Know)”

Rating: Hunting Call (Excellent) + *swoop*

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