We’re delighted to share the video premiere of ‘Long, Cold Winter’ from Michael Gay, a song that brings to mind John Prine, both through its sound and its wry, witty lyrics. That’s high praise for Gay’s debut single release. The song, which refers to making it through a long and lonely season in Minnesota, is released at the same time as ‘Good Night’ about spending a summer’s night by the Mississippi, something to dream about during these winter months. Gay compares the pair of releases: “It is my little ode to Minnesota, celebrating both sides of the coin. Living here has taught me to embrace seasons in life even when you’re looking for that chapter to close. We’re stronger for it.”
An engaging and amusing video, shot and edited by Erik and Sarah Elstran, uses the device of a local news show and weather report to share the song’s message. Gay describes making the video: “I wanted to make sure it had some proper, Midwestern nostalgia and the news idea fit the bill. I knew it would be fun for us to shoot and light on typical country-adjacent music video clichés. The lyrics seemed like they would work well as a faux news story and being multiple news reporters gave me a good excuse to rock some suits again. Also, I knew Erik would have fun with the green screen!
Covid obviously was a factor in brainstorming and it was something that we could do and easily include others, shoot safely outside, and be a small operation. We ended up having to scale the original idea back a lot, due to tightening of covid restrictions at the time, which is why it is basically only me in the frame… that was not the original plan. Waiting on the weather was a hurdle, so we made lemonade!
We filmed the green screen stuff at Ivy Media in Eau Claire and they were cool as hell so if it makes sense to mention them, that would be cool.”
Both singles were recorded live in Nashville with drummer and engineer Nate Wedan, Phil Christensen on bass and John James Tourville, described by Gay as his “…stringed instrument swiss army knife,” (fiddle, guitar, pedal steel, mandolin). Together they recorded a total of twelve songs over the course of a week. Look out for the debut full-length album, ‘Make it Right’, later this year. While these sessions produced Gay’s first solo material, he is well-known for his Almighty American project and has shared a stage with the likes of Margo Price, The Mavericks and Kacy & Clayton.
Inspired by the outlaws and storytellers of another time, such as Willie Nelson and John Prine, Michael Gay has an ear for a radio-friendly tune and a gift for engaging lyrics. The Minneapolis-based country-folk singer-songwriter is definitely one to watch.