Zac Brown Band – “Colder Weather”
Songwriters: Zac Brown, Wyatt Durrette, Levi Lowrey and Coy Bowles
If summer is the season of love, winter is its darker, drearier counterpoint, with its shorter, chillier days grating on our bodies and minds. Accordingly, “Colder Weather,” the second single off Zac Brown Band’s You Get What You Give, sounds like loneliness and longing set to music.
That’s quite a feat, considering the steel guitar, country music’s go-to instrument for pain and suffering, is nearly silent on the track. Instead, producer Keith Stegall uses a sparse arrangement of piano and strings to an elegant effect–a perfect background for conflicting lyrics that succinctly showcase the less glamorous side of rambling fever.
Its restraint, even in its fiddle-laced, second-half ramp-up, lets the story and its wonderful pockets of insight do the talking: When Brown sings “She’s answered by the tail lights/Shining through the window pane” and “I love you but I leave you/I don’t want you but I need you,” there’s a wistful honesty there that elevates the song above the average lost-love formula.
As a metaphor, however, the tune’s treatment of the unpredictability and unreliability of Mother Nature runs deeper than just the seasons. The roadblock is lamented half-heartedly with “It’s a shame about the weather/I know soon we’ll be together/And I can’t wait til then,” but the harsh conditions serve as a welcome scapegoat for his urges to run. This adds organic layers to the song, where other radio power ballads slap on electric guitar solos on top of choir harmonies on top of orchestral histrionics.
But while its meandering manner reflects the roads its protagonist follows physically and emotionally, “Colder Weather” sometimes begs for some assistance from a GPS. It’s easy to get lost in the song’s vignettes and flashbacks, and there’s no comfortable resolution at its end–transferring much of its lovers’ restlessness and uncertainty onto its listeners.
In the 24/7, always-connected world we live in, Merle Haggard-esque shake off your load and hit the road songs of rambling and roaming are few and far between. The effortless way in which Zac Brown and his talented group of musicians capture the apologies and regret in “Colder Weather” is impressive, making it a worthy follow-up to one of the best singles and songs of 2010.
- Michael A.: Has anyone else had a difficult time trying to get the free download from the Reba site?
- Dave D.: I can't believe that I never saw the Willie Nelson Monk episode - and it was a Sharona episode, as …
- nm: Taylor Swift was on CSI once. Not only was Steve Earle on The Wire, in one episode Omar quoted him about …
- Barry Mazor: It's only a slight stretch to recall when Jimmy Dean met James Bond: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbwDGtj84YY
- Arlene: I suspect you'll also be including an episode of L.A. Law....
- luckyoldsun: The Johnny Cash episode was the one Columbo case where you really felt "the b--- had it coming."
- A.B.: Janice - I saw that too and sent him a Tweet about it.
- Janice Brooks: Peter Cooper needs an edit. Stringbean did not die in 1964.
- Leeann: I can't contribute to this list, but I did think of Steve Earle and The Wire. It's not my …
- Jeremy Dylan: That was a great episode of Monk. The "Georgia On My Mind" scene is just heartbreaking.