Winter brings dwindling sunlight, colder temperatures, penetrating gloom and crippling seasonal affective disorder, which plagues more than three million people every year. The impending anguish is nearly inescapable, fraught from fading colors, icy windswept barrenness and a foggy psychological state. Lo-fi, alt-rocker Luke Buck taps into the season’s looming sluggishness as a cathartic escape, pinned with withering piano and strident trumpet, on his melancholic new single “Winter.” The singer, songwriter and musician is listless, reclining brazenly into the tune’s drowsy arrangement. “It’s Wintertime here in Brooklyn and you have left me alone again / The sun goes down so early, it’s like it’s setting just for me,” he sings, setting the stage of lonesomeness and doomed angst. “You’d think that by now I’d learn to not trust / It’s not for you and me, just please don’t go / Please don’t go…”
His songwriting is appropriately unfussy, scrawling the universal emotions of sorrow and apprehension with ease. “But everyone still goes away in the end, and I’m left alone here to pretend / While the air outside can’t grow much colder, and I’m not getting any wiser / I’m just getting older, and older, and older, and older,” he yearns. His voice is perfectly imperfect, grainy even, and wobbles as uneasily as heartache itself.
“Winter” comes on the heels of his All These Things EP, released earlier this year. “I was too busy to deal with the emotions fully. But the day she told me she met someone new was a punch in the gut,” he tells B-Sides & Badlands about the breakup which led to such a transparent, raw and honest performance. “It wasn’t fair to expect otherwise, but you know, it still brought up some repressed feelings. I sat down at my piano again, and ‘Winter’ started to come out again, but this time with a renewed meaning and feeling behind the words.”
Buck is joined by musicians Jed Nimitz (on bass), Robert Mitzner (on drums) and Mike Irwin (on trumpet), and vocalist Cass McSparin (balancing her feathery vocal in the background). “I knew I wanted to record it immediately to capture that feeling, so we tracked piano, bass and drums together in the live room at M&I studios in Hell’s Kitchen,” Buck continues. “Their room has such a warm tone – exactly what I wanted for this record. The trumpet was such a strong addition to the song it made its way out of the choruses and solo and spread into the intro and verses to became the key part to the entire song.”