I have to be honest. I do not like country music.

Closest I come in my musical tastes to it would be rockabilly, cowpunk and the immortal Johnny Cash. Maybe it was being forced to move to the Midwest from New York City that set up this distaste. But, Cold Water’s “Instead, I am a Golden Oriole” has such a divine way with storytelling that I feel like these songs were written by a vulnerable, tired anarcho-punk in the back of a dirty tour van after playing way too many shows in dive bars, surviving on a wing and a prayer.

Kevin Stebner is Cold Water. Stebner has been writing for Cold Water for the past decade. He exorcises his daemons of not only his youth but, also his upbringing and the struggle of being gay. “Bronze Medallion” is all about this trial in particular. Stebner’s vocal is steeped in melancholy as it laments over a weeping slide guitar to show you that will assure your awarded medal, your own personal alloy, is more precious than diamonds, even if only visibly bronze. “Lumber Dog” slam dances back to Stebner’s obvious hardcore roots with a snarl of rabid anger and frustration.

Rich in textures and tears as a confession should be, every track found a way into my heart. And for this, I am grateful. I may not still like country but, I Love Cold Water. No matter what your tastes are, strength is found in vulnerability, solace in the arms of community, “Instead, I am a Golden Oriole” will fly into the house of your soul and connect your story with theirs.

This album will be released on limited edition cassette tapes, CDs, lathe records, and digitally. Proceeds from tape sales sold on Bandcamp will go to Trellis Society‘s Aura House in Calgary, who provide support and housing for homeless LGTBQ+ youth.

By Sihn Starr Cartia

Artist. Musician. Writer. Anarcho. Punk. Goth. Gaymer. Streamer. Greetings.

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