Anthony D’Amato recorded his latest album, Cold Snap, in the dead of winter in Omaha, Nebraska. It’s an aptly named album considering these conditions, because those who have been to the mid-west in the dead of winter know: it gets cold. A kind of bone-chilling, permeating cold that feels both inescapable and endless. So, it should come as no surprise that the collection of songs he gave to us to represent his influences during writing and recording has, overall, an incredibly warm tone. This playlist, which includes both songs by friends of his and old country songs, is perfect for both summer and fall — it suits both the feelings of the sun going down on a hot summer day and sitting by a fire during a cold winter. Cold Snap is out this Friday on New West Records.
Connie Smith – “Once A Day”
While we were out in Omaha recording the album, we did a show with Dolores Diaz & The Standby Club, a new band that Conor Oberst and his wife Corina put together with Mike Mogis (who produced my album), MiWi La Lupa (who played bass with us) and a bunch of other killer musicians from Cursive/McCarthy Trenching/Bright Eyes/The Good Life/etc. They’d played all these great old country covers, and I’d never heard this one before. I got super into it after hearing Corina sing it, and it always reminds me of Omaha now.
MiWi La Lupa – “Holiday”
MiWi played bass and horns on the album and he’s such a monster musician. I got really into the solo record he made, and this is one of my favorite songs that’s come out all year.
The Felice Brothers – “The Mating of the Doves”
One night after recording, I was talking about how this is my favorite Felice Brothers song, and I was bummed they never put it on a record. Conor is a mega-fan of that band, though, and knew an EP where they’d released it, so he put it on a couple times in a row and the lyrics just blow me away every single time.
Pete Yorn – “Lost Weekend”
This song came out during the recording sessions, and I blasted it every morning in the shower to wake myself up and feel excited. Pete has a great way of writing songs that make you feel happy and sad at the same time.
Sharon Van Etten – “I Don’t Want To Let You Down”
I love the feeling of vulnerability in Sharon’s lyrics, and I really aspired to that level of candor in writing these songs.
Sam Roberts – “The Gate”
I wanted to play more with the atmospherics on this album and not be afraid for songs to stretch out and jam and experiment with effects and builds more than we have in the past. Sam’s always been one to do that without sacrificing the pop sensibilities or appeal of his songs, and Derek Cruz, who played all the electric guitars and keyboards on the album, did that in a really nice way on Cold Snap I think.
You Won’t – “Television”
This song always makes me feel good, and I’d listen to it as a reminder that more isn’t necessarily better. You can stay completely stripped down and still have a total earworm.
Hozier – “Illinois Blues” (Skip James Cover)
At Newport Folk Festival, he put on this great little solo performance where he threw back to some old acoustic fingerpicked blues, and that inspired me to go home and mess around with new (old) picking patterns and tunings.
Conor Oberst – “Roosevelt Room”
I saw Conor and Mike play this song as Bright Eyes at Radio City Music Hall when I was in college, and it was so intense it felt like they tore the ceiling open. I talked to Mike about that performance before we recorded because there was this amazing energy to it that still resonates with me almost 10 years later, and I wanted that to be a reference point for the intensity.
T Rex – “Spaceball Ricochet”
I have a vivid memory of sitting on the floor one night after recording listening to this album. When I hear it, I flash back to that very snowy, cold time out in Omaha.