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Zoe Winter: Presented by Sou’wester Arts
After years of playing alongside bands like The California Honeydrops, Rainbow Girls and Handmade Moments, Zoe Winter is recording her first full length studio album.
A bay-area local who’s been compared to Laura Marling and called the Joni Mitchell of Sonoma County, Zoe discovered her perfect pitch and ability to play music by ear at the age of 7. Her career began playing keys in the graffitied classrooms of SF’s School of Rock and performing as a vocalist in her father’s band. As her influences shifted from rock and roll and R&B to jazz pianists like Bill Evans and Robert Glasper and vocalists like Eryka Badu and Thom Yorke, she moved to acoustic guitar and removed all unnecessary sounds. “To stand on a stage alone and sing clearly through a microphone with no effects, playing a guitar with no effects, is the most punk rock thing to me.”
Then her relationship with a folk singer abruptly ended.
“I had to drive from New Mexico back home to Sonoma County and that 3 day drive was the most excruciating but empowering time of my life. One day I just pulled over, walked out into the side of the desert, and laid down. I went back to grab my guitar and that was when I started writing my own songs.”
Attending a Zoe Winter concert feels a bit like lying down beside her in the desert after that breakup. Whether she’s alone on a dark stage with her guitar or singing with a full band, her voice gives you an excuse to crack open and confront whatever it is you’ve been running from. That said, she likes adding comic relief between songs so you have plenty of laughter to go with your tears.
Unlike her stripped-back solo EP, New Mexico, her upcoming album will act like a Best-of-the-Bay featuring the many musicians she’s played with over the years. “One of my favorite parts about music is having all your best friends be your biggest inspirations.”
You can catch her playing at Lost Church, Freight and Salvage, the Oregon Country Fair, Bodega Day, Lucidity Festival, and on the side your local highway.