Nashville’s South for Winter is the folk trio of Nick Stone (guitar and vocals), Dani Cichon (mandolin and vocals) and Alex Stradal (cello). A band you may have heard on Lightning 100, they are currently wrapping up a new LP titled “Luxumbra” here in town with producer Matt Leigh.
South for Winter has just released “Always You,” the fifth single from their upcoming record. You can watch and foot stomp to some lively picking and lovely harmonizing on a live “Today in Nashville” take of “Always You” right here.
Of course, at this messy time there are no live shows on their calendar. If that doesn’t change soon, I suspect there may be some on-line activity surrounding the new record. I thank Nick, Dani and Alex for taking the time for this fun interview.
Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?
Dani: I’m from Colorado Springs. I received a postcard from Nashville while I was applying to nursing school from UC Denver and realized it might be the best city for me to pursue both nursing and music. I ended up transferring into Belmont’s nursing program in 2014, and I’m so glad I did, because I was able to write songs and meet other musicians all throughout nursing school!
Nick: I’m from Christchurch, New Zealand. Dani and I met in South America the summer that she was moving from Denver to Nashville. I was working abroad for a volunteer organization at the time and then moved back home to New Zealand after, so it took me a few years to get to Nashville. I moved here in 2017 for Dani (spoiler alert, we’re married!) and so we could start South for Winter.
Alex: I’m from Muskegon, MI. I happened to move from Michigan to Nashville just a few weeks after Nick did. I lost my job and my apartment in the same week and decided it was a sign. I’d thought about moving here before but this seemed like the right time to make the big move and pursue becoming a studio cellist here.
What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?
Nick: My first two CDs were the Grease soundtrack and Backstreet Boys (I had a voucher for both, of course!). The last was the new CD of a Nashville friend, Pepper Said.
Alex: Linkin Park was my first CD. I last bought The Dangerous Summer’s album on vinyl.
Dani: Honestly, I can’t remember the first one I bought, but it was probably something like Hilary Duff. The most recent one was Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours on vinyl. Thankfully my tastes have evolved!
First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?
Nick: I grew up surrounded by classical music in my family, so there were many live shows growing up, but the first of note was seeing Stomp live. That percussion ensemble blew my mind.
Dani: First was the Jonas Brothers which is really not showing off my musical tastes! And I think we’re all the same for the last one we saw. If we’re only counting in-person live shows, the last would be the final show we played at the end of our March tour on the East Coast which ended for obvious reasons, unfortunately. For online concerts, the last one I watched was the Secret Sisters which was so good! Their harmonies are perfect.
Alex: My first show was Ben Folds. I sat front row and waited like six hours to be there. It was amazing!
Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?
Alex: That is such a tough choice, but it has to be Hendrix for me.
Nick: Jack White. His discography of music, his aggressive guitar style, and his record empire of Third Man Records puts him right at the top for me.
Dani: I’m really torn between Cash and Emmylou, but I’m going to go with Johnny Cash because his storytelling is incredible.
Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?
Dani: For coffee, Retrograde off Dickerson Pike. I really love it because it’s become the hang spot for us and our music friends to meet up and book gigs, talk about release strategies, and get music advice from each other.
Nick: Love Retrograde and Crema Roastery for coffee. It’s hard to compare to NZ coffee standards, but Crema comes pretty close. For pizza, Mafiaoza’s is a go-to.
Alex: I would say Two Boots for pizza, but I’ve also only had it while I’ve been drunk.
What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?
Nick: Shania Twain’s Come on Over. Mainly because it was recorded at the same studio where we just recorded ours, but also, it’s one of the top selling albums ever in New Zealand!
Dani: So tough to choose! But I’d probably say The Civil Wars’ album, Barton Hollow. I just love the songwriting and production and it’s definitely an album that has inspired me a lot in our own music.
Alex: I’d have to say Kings of Leon.
Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?
Alex: Where Nick works of course, Embers Ski Lodge. Mushroom and swiss, plus fries, and you gotta get the jalapeno ranch.
Dani: Definitely Embers. Cali burger every time.
Nick: Cali burger, but with bacon and egg, and a side of jalapeno ranch. For a truly hearty meal.
The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.
Dani: Claire Kelly, The Arcadian Wild, and the Bird and the Bear.
Nick: 100%. All great artists and people.
What are your favorite music venues to play in town?
Alex: It’s not quite in town, but Rock Castle in Hendersonville TN. They treat us so well.
Dani: Definitely Rock Castle. Sam runs the series, and he is the nicest guy in the world. Plus, it’s a great music-loving community, and the audience is so supportive and respectful.
Name a musician who you’d like to see move here.
Alex: Tom West. He’s an Australian artist we’ve been lucky enough to become friends with over the last couple years. His music is so good.
Nick: Gareth Pearson. He’s an incredible fingerstyle guitarist and a great friend who’s currently living in Canada. Get over here, Gazza!
Dani: Most happen to be musician friends who have moved away and that I’m still hoping will move back! Unfortunately, it’s really common here, since it’s a transition city for many artists.
Finally, what’s in your musical future?
Dani: We’re really excited to release the album Luxumbra this fall and finally have something that we really feel represents what we are capable of. The album has been two years in the making and we’re so proud of it! Releasing this album feels like the beginning of everything for us, especially since, for the first time ever, we now have a manager and a team of amazing people to work with from here onward with our music.
Alex: Right now, we’re also decking out our new tour vehicle so we can hit the ground running when things safely open back up. We’re really excited to have a new van that we will be able to travel the country with, live in during all seasons, and most of all, one that won’t break down in the middle of Salem, VA! By the way, if you like van builds, you can follow our adventures on IG at @gallivan_tour.
Nick: Also, I’ve been hard at work in the home studio working on our next project. We’ll be releasing an acoustic album to follow up this album, complete with stripped-back versions of some album tracks and a couple of new songs as well.
Dani: So basically, a lot is in the near future! You can find us on Facebook and Instagram @southforwintermusic if you’d like to follow along.