Hopefully you’ve all escaped the various snowstorms of the past couple weeks unscathed. Here’s a Friday Five guaranteed to lift your spirits: songs about freezing to death. Don’t worry, folks; spring is just around the corner. (Thanks to Ken Morton, Jr. for the idea.)
These Gothic Country Brooklynites are a little bit folk, a little bit punk. On this rockin’ song from Broken Hymns, Limbs, and Skin, lead singer Greg Jamie is barely comprehensible as he sings about slowly freezing to death. But who expects a frozen guy to enunciate clearly anyway?
Being a cowboy in the winter must really suck, especially when you have to move a thousand heads of cattle across a river in the dead of winter. Thanks to his horse, the narrator survives—many of his companions don’t—but he’s seen a version of hell that’s “mighty cold.”
This mournful tale about a pair of young boys who freeze to death in the mountains will make you long for a less depressing Krauss song, like “Whiskey Lullaby.” The clip below features the songwriters, Julie Lee and John Pennell, discussing the inspiration behind the song. Though the story told in “Jacob’s Dream” sounds like fiction, the tragedy of the Lost Children of the Alleghenies—and the farmer who dreamed of their location—is sadly true.
This single (from Tall Tales and Short Tempers) went to #4 in 1961, which means a whole lot of folks dug a song about a guy who freezes to death a hundred yards from his sweetheart’s house because he couldn’t leave his lame horse. Scottish indie pop band Camera Obscura recently released a pretty excellent cover if you’re into that sort of thing.
Juli Thanki is the editor of Engine 145 and a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, Bluegrass Unlimited, and M Music & Musicians Magazine. In 2011 she received the International Bluegrass Music Association Print Media Person of the Year award.