The project of singer/songwriter Tamara Lindeman, the Weather Station’s songs are too musically and emotionally nimble to be classified easily. On Lindeman’s earliest albums, like 2011′s All of It Was Mine, she cultivated a down-to-earth style informed by her time in Toronto’s folk scene and driven by her guitar, banjo, and confessional lyrics. By the time she released 2015′s Loyalty, however, her music had grown more abstract, her songwriting more detailed and analytical. Later, Lindeman matched the intricacy of her words with equally ambitious music, pairing her version of rock & roll with feminist insights on 2017′s The Weather Station, and combining musings on climate change with luxurious jazz and soft rock on 2021′s Ignorance. Amidst the Weather Station’s changes, Lindeman’s silvery voice and clear-eyed songwriting remained consistently compelling, proving the comparisons to forebears like Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen and contemporaries such as Weyes Blood and Bill Callahan were more than warranted.
Growing up in a rural part of Ontario, Canada, Lindeman spent time outdoors singing to herself, and eventually joined her school’s choir. In her teens, she pursued an acting career, but quit after feeling disillusioned by the profession’s artificiality. By the time she was 20, Lindeman was in Toronto, recording songs with her roommate’s software and taking inspiration from sources as diverse as Earl Scruggs and the Books. She soon became a part of the city’s vibrant folk scene, singing backup and playing banjo with various bands and connecting with artists such as Basia Bulat.
Lindeman christened her own project the Weather Station in 2006 and debuted her moody, introspective sound with the independently released East EP in 2008. A full-length called The Line followed in 2009, expanding on Lindeman’s earthy, lyrical style, driven by her distinctive fingerpicked guitar and banjo parts. For the next Weather Station release, Lindeman worked with friend and collaborator Daniel Romano. Arriving on his You’ve Changed Records label in August 2011, All of It Was Mine won critical acclaim and drew comparisons to Doc Watson and Bert Jansch. The album’s praise gained wider exposure for the Weather Station, leading to several North American tours with acts like Bulat, Bahamas, and Timber Timbre, as well as a tour of Japan. Lindeman then appeared on releases by Doug Paisley, Siskiyou, and Field Report. In 2013, she worked with Baby Eagle (the Constantines’ Steve Lambke) on the single “Mule in the Flowers,” which was nominated for that year’s SOCAN Songwriting Prize.
After the release of 2014′s What Am I Going to Do with Everything I Know EP, Lindeman signed with North Carolina label Paradise of Bachelors and traveled to France to record her third LP, Loyalty. Recorded with Robbie Lackritz and Bahamas’ Afie Jurvanen in a 19th century mansion just outside of Paris, May 2015′s Loyalty was the first Weather Station album to receive both American and European releases. It became a critical breakout album in those regions and made the longlist for that year’s Polaris Music Prize. For her next album, she took a more candid songwriting approach, opening up about her own experiences with mental illness as well as feminism and relationships. Released in September 2017, The Weather Station expanded her sound into more rock-oriented territory and featured production and string arrangements by Lindeman.
Following her tour in support of The Weather Station, Lindeman grew increasingly concerned about climate change. Along with attending Fridays for Future demonstrations and hosting a series of discussions with musicians and activists called Elephant in the Room, her cause also focused her songwriting. Composing on a toy keyboard, she wrote the Weather Station’s fifth album in early 2019; when it was time to record, she opted for a lush sound informed by Talk Talk, Fleetwood Mac, and Roxy Music and brought in members of Bernice, Tegan and Sara, and Toronto’s improv jazz scene. The results were Ignorance, which Fat Possum released in February 2021. ~ Heather Phares & Timothy Monger