Where: Halifax, N.S./Wakefield, Que.
When: Jan. 20-23/Feb. 5-7
What it is: An accurately named festival, In the Dead of Winter takes place right when Halifax seems to be hitting that stretch of winter that is completely miserable. The default mode for late January may be to binge on Netflix from the comfort of your own warm home. But really, it’s good to go mingle with humans and catch some (mostly) acoustic music in the North End. This year, IDOW kicks off with a tribute to the Tori Amos album Boys For Pele, an album released 20 years ago. The programming all takes place at The Company House, Bus Stop Theatre and AlterEgo’s Cafe – three spaces close enough you can get away without wearing a coat if you’re into venue hopping.
Two weekends later, the second part of the festival takes place in Wakefield, Que. at the Black Sheep Inn, a cozy town along the Gatineau River near Ottawa.
Headliners: Catherine McLellan, The Burning Hell, the Weather Station, Fortunate Ones/Katie Moore, Terra Lightfoot, Michael Feuerstack
For the full lineup and schedule, visit IDOW’s website.
Mix Pick: If you’re in Halifax, we recommend checking out the Weather Station at the Bus Stop Theatre on Friday night. It seems like every time Tamara Lindeman (aka the Weather Station) releases a record, it ends up in our ‘Best of’ issues. In 2015, it was Loyalty, an album of expertly crafted introspective tales. When performing live, Lindeman has a way of commanding the attention of the audience. If you blink, you might miss the beauty of her songs and miss out on her relatable honesty.
If you’re headed to IDOW in Wakefield, we recommend checking out Michael Feuerstack. Another regular in our ‘Best of’ issues, Feuerstack has a new EP, Adult Lullabies, coming out February 19 via Forward Music Group. The EP marks the one-year anniversary of the memorable album The Forgettable Truth and features songs from those recording sessions for that album. The new songs sound more like a marvellous new dish rather than day-old leftovers. With the EP coming out a few days after the IDOW performance, expect to be serenaded by the dazzling new songs.
Mix Tips: Yes, it may be viewed as uncool to show up to shows early or on time, it’s actually pretty nice to secure a cozy spot with a good vantage spot at IDOW. And just a general life tip, carry an extra pair of socks in case you get snow in your boots or something.
Photo: The Weather Station (Outside Music)