Singular singer/songwriter Kramies dives into the depths of his hauntingly beautiful and achingly expressive self-titled LP, a stunning record that blends fantasy and reality into a lush, raw, and ethereal dream-folk triumph.
for fans of Death Cab for Cutie, Sufjan Stevens, The National, The Decemberists
“Ohio I’ll Be Fine” – Kramies
I believe I was raised by witches and ghosts, and that’s where all these songs stir from.
Listening to Kramies’ new album is like stepping out of our reality and walking into a dream.
His music is at once soothing, stirring, and unsettling; the stuff of folklore and fantasy with a deeply human core, it washes over the ears in visceral waves of mystic warmth. Gentle yet intense, his songs beckon us near, drawing us closer – and before we know it, we’re swept up in Kramies’ enchanting world of wonder, lost in the depths of his vivid stories and raw emotional outpourings. Hauntingly beautiful and achingly expressive, the self-titled Kramies blends fantasy and reality into a lush, ethereal dream-folk triumph.
Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering Kramies Windt’s self-titled LP Kramies, out everywhere September 9 via Hidden Shoal Records. While he released a handful of LPs in the now-distant aughts, the singer/songwriter considers this record his first proper studio album.
Hence it bears his name – a name that, over the past decade and change, has come to be synonymous with a special kind of sweeping, soul-stirring, majestic and alternative folk style. Kramies, who previously described one of his songs to us as “a crossing of boundaries between eerie, mythical scenery and dreamy, fairytale-laden folklore,” has slowly established himself as a standalone voice in the indie music world: As illustrative a lyricist as he is a musical architect, his songs naturally take on a dreamy quality, and embedded within each offering is a profound depth of emotion, often tinged with a melancholy edge.
In premiering his 2017 single “I Wish I Missed You,” Atwood Magazine remarked, “What poetry; what sheer finesse and beauty.” More recent releases, including 2018’s Of All The Places Been & Everything The End EP, 2019’s “Between the Moon,” and 2021’s double single with Grant Wilson, have seen Kramies continuously hone his craft – ensuring that everything he touches comes to life with a poetic warmth, dramatic intensity, and moving grace.
I don’t really care about anything else except making these dream-folklore songs and leaving people with bits of the universe.
Unapologetically intimate and tender, Kramies is, without a doubt, Kramies’ most personal and powerful record to date.
The record itself is a smorgasbord of songs written and recorded at various places, and with different people, over the past few years.
“I want to make sure to mention how many artists came together at different times and from different places to help me make my first real LP,” Kramies says. “It doesn’t happen like this for a lot of people, so for this many creative and unique humans to all play a roll in something I’m creating is absolutely magical. If it wasn’t for Jason Lytle, Partick Carney, Jerry Becker, Jim Bogios, Tyler Ramsey, David Goodheim, Marc Whitmore, Todd Tobias, Allison Lorenzen, Lucas Johannes, Cam Merton, Lady Viktoria and John Panza this LP would not have turned out so special. I have had a very unique and crazy nine-year career late in my life and it keeps growing like a young tree in a fairytale forest or some kind of folklore story, but it took a village and I just want to acknowledge that.”
For Kramies, this album represents an important and meaningful career milestone.
“I’m at the point now where this feels like more of an adventure in a bigger picture, and with all of the press I’ve received and all the places I get to go, and people I meet from doing this, I find that the only thing people remember is the bits of emotions you leave them with,” he says. “That’s my focus. I don’t really care about anything else except making these dream-folklore songs and leaving people with bits of the universe. This has been a journey that has grown into amazing directions only to bring me back to where I was in the beginning, kind of loving what I do. Other than that, it doesn’t matter right.”
He continues, “There’s not one thing holding this damn LP together except its spirit: Its ability to create movement and its story. The mixes are all different, the songs are all different, things are loud when they shouldn’t be, there’s noises jumping out of nowhere, but this is a special one for me. It’s the most honest, yet folklore-ish of them all.”
“It’s really hard for me to explain this LP as far as where it came from and where my head was at; life was over the place – just like these songs, but that’s where I ended up finding my peace and happiness during the making of this LP. I found the book that I started writing the lyrics for these songs.. In this book, on the first page was this line, “I believe I was raised by witches and ghosts and that’s where all these songs stir from.”
Kramies is singular in style and nature: A vast dream-folk soundscape that requires multiple listens in order to feel its full effect.
Highlights include the darkly immersive synth-fueled “Hotel in LA” and the achingly bittersweet “Ohio I’ll Be Fine,” a heartfelt acoustic ballad that proves an instant standout thanks to Kramies’ poignant, deeply moving lyrics and his breathtaking, up-close and personal performance.
“I still can’t believe how well this one has been received,” he chuckles. “I love this song… I grew up in Ohio, I got sober and left, my life changed and grew into what it is now.. What’s so ironic is I just moved back after almost two decades away. I don’t know how long it will last, but I’m here in it and I’m really happy for now. Without giving to much away, I’ll say this is more of a positive so-long song than sad: It’s my ‘goodbye/hello again‘ song to Ohio memories… I’ve had a love/hate affair with this place. I was a drug addict here and I lost a lot in Ohio, as well as gained wisdom. It’s the woods and nature here that taught me how to write – I owe that to Ohio… There’s nothing like early morning or dusk in the woods of Ohio. It’s where fairytales and folklore are created. When the dusty sunbeams come breaking through the trees and you’re in its silence, it will change you.”
I never even thought of being a songwriter; I always wanted to write books, but this place kind of carved my path for me…. I definitely owe it to Ohio.
You can have the money, you can give blame
you can take the land from me
and I’ll just leave in pain
but I’m fine, Ohio I am fine
Waking from the headaches then flushing all the drugs
staring down at cornfields, now passed out on your rug
I was fine, Ohio I was fine
I never felt to good. but I never felt too bad
and just like my pharmacist, I took all you had
and I was fine
I settled on a goldmine that was looking down at ghosts
I’m a hundred grand richer, still living off of toast
I’ll be fine; Ohio I’ll be fine…
– “Ohio I’ll Be Fine,” Kramies
Truly, this album is the stuff of dreams. Its subject matter is raw and real, yet everything comes to the fore with a nostalgic, phantasmagorical hue.
From the album’s radiant reckoning of an opener “Days Of” (“Out from a song, when you came along, but you loved it less, now you love it more than me…”) to the contemplative, emotionally heavy “Owl and the Crow” and the softly stirring finale “4:44AM” (with its touching last line, “I’ll find my way back home, and this time I won’t lose myself, unless time gets away from me again“), Kramies captures our ears, and in turn, our hearts.
Your starry eyes
and your bedroom sighs
they kept me coming back around again
and of all our fights this one was right
’cause I hit the ground and down and down I went
So maybe while I’m gone
well, I’ll try not to hurt myself
and baby while your alone
will you please enjoy yourself
I’ll find my way back home
and this time I won’t lose myself
Unless time gets away from me again
Experience the full record via our exclusive stream, and peek inside Kramies’ self-titled LP with Atwood Magazine as the artist goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of his (proper) debut album!
Stream: ‘Kramies’ – Kramies
:: Inside Kramies ::
I wrote most of these songs from just the images I was creating in my head but “Days Off ” came from a real-life story, not a love story or death story but something I saw that grew from a spark. It was just a demo when Patrick Carney of The Black Keys said he would produce and play on it so I went headfirst into making it as powerful and impactful as I could. I went to two or three different studios to track it and threw away the tracks each time. My guitarist David Goodheim and I finely went into a small private studio in Denver Colorado, tracked all the parts and sent them over to Partick who then tracked drums and guitars and pieced it all together with Marc Whitmore. I must have thrown out 100 versions of all the tracks but what came out of all that is probably one of my favorite songs of all times. It feels old, eerie and speaks of death as well as addiction and things I’m enchanted by.
HORSES TO MAINE
Horses To Maine was started in California with my good friend Jerry Becker of Train. We sat in his studio one night to start what was supposed to be a three song acoustic EP, but what jerry captured that night felt like something more. I recorded the vocals and acoustic to Horses To Maine live in one take yet we kept adding bits.. Its the lyrics in the LP for me that pull all these songs together, but this was one of those songs that wasn’t finished until the very end when the drums and horns were finally added. The end of this song is also one of my most favorite moving pieces. Horses to Maine has the most straight forward of all the lyrics on this LP. It made me nervous to not be so architecturally abstract lyrically and structurally, but I had to be ok with that on this one. Once I heard everything together, I knew I could sink back into a dreamier cinematic mind set.
HOTEL IN LA
I have kept a lot of memorabilia, photos and letters from my past. Specially stuff from touring and travels. I’ve had a pretty unique life as an artist so I’m glad every time I move to a new place to find old memories of things I might have otherwise forgotten about. I wrote ‘Hotel in LA’ on a day that I found an old letter from someone I use to care about. It was a fond memory even though it might sound bit sad. Most my songs seem to have that element. In the letter was a paragraph on how we joked about having to make a hotel that was falling apart in California into something lovely by hanging photos over the cracked and water stained walls, eventually filling the walls with 1000 frames.
I’ve never known how these songs come about and through me but this one was a special moment in time. The letter and lyrics came from the time when I was at the height of my drug addiction before I got clean. “Hotel in LA” was originally titled “Shitty Hotel in LA” demo.. It kind of follows that timeline of my life where there was a beautiful blur between the lines of what was real and what was nostalgia in the making. I write a lot these days, and the best part is I captured this song on a balcony overlooking the Blueridge parkway.. I’ll never remember how to play it again, which makes it an even more a lost memory caught in time.
OHIO I’ll BE FINE
I still can’t believe how well this one has been received. I love this song. It actually had a couple #1 spots on radio… This was also one of the songs recorded as an acoustic EP in California that grew to be way more because of the brilliant Jerry Becker and lovely Jim Bogios..
I grew up in Ohio, I got sober and left, my life changed and grew into what it is now.. What’s so Ironic is I just moved back after almost two decades away. I don’t know how long it will last but, I’m here in it and I’m really happy for now. I’m not sure how people see this song, people just tell me how they like it. I’ve had random people come up to me and say ‘hey you’re the guy with that Ohio song’…. without giving to much away I’ll say this is more of a positive so-long song than sad. I guess It’s my “Good Bye/Hello Again” song to Ohio memories… I’ve had a love/hate affair with this place. I was a drug addict here and I lost a lot in Ohio as well as gained wisdom. It’s the woods and nature here that taught me how to write, I owe that to Ohio… There’s nothing like early morning or dusk in the woods of Ohio. Its where fairy tales and folklore are created. When the dusty sunbeams come breaking through the trees and you’re in its silence, it will change you… I never even thought of being a songwriter, I always wanted to write books but this place kind of carved my path for me…. I definitely owe it to Ohio
YOU’D BE THE FALL
This one has two of my favorite songwriters on it, Jason Lytle and Tyler Ramsey… I hate to say this again, but this is one of my favorites on the LP. It was recorded while I was living briefly in Asheville. I recorded the acoustics in my small apartment while looking at the mountains thinking about how I needed to get out of here for my health.
I had left Colorado and thought Asheville would be a good little jump, but the energy was off for me.
This song sounds different to me than the rest. It’s not about anyone, my songs are never about anyone but more about that strange place in time. Jason Lytle produced this one and added synths and Tyler Ramsey added Rhodes and guitars. On my last few EPs I feel like I attempted to write this song but failed. You’d Be the Fall is the version that I’ve been waiting for… but it took some peculiar isolation to get me to write it properly.
FLOWERS FROM THE ORPHAN
I had this really interesting introduction to this artist named Allison Lorenzen. We were introduced by a mutual songwriter we knew but it was almost like a joke. I was looking for someone to do a duet with. I’ve always loved the back and forth-ness of a duet, but I wanted to write it in my eerie kind of way. This was going to be a single separate from the LP but it was so beautiful I wanted it to be part of the collection. It’s the saddest song I’ve ever written, I didn’t try. It just happened… I’m actually an extremely jovial person with a lot of clownish eccentricities but somehow the music I create at times sounds sad. I’m not sure if that’s a thing, I know people talk about it and analyze stuff like that, but I usually don’t listen to what people say. I just do my own thing. It’s true though, Sad songs create big change for people at the right moment and creating sad songs like this one helped me push through strange times. Allison Lorenzen was the perfect duet partner and if you haven’t heard of her yet, you will soon
OWL AND THE CROW
I’m not sure I’ve ever been able to say this before, because I can’t really understand completely how I process things without relying heavily on the emotions I use to create everything but, “Owl and The Crow” is one of the songs on the LP that means the most to me. For one of the first times in my life I recognize instantly where the story and emotion from this song comes from. I rarely remember anything that isn’t emotionally heighted, if something doesn’t carry bits of historic emotional imagery then I don’t really care about it or remember it. This song has stayed with me. There are a few unspoken landmarks on this LP for me and Owl and The Crow is one of them.
It’s about a situation that expands further then my reach. I couldn’t hold on. I can’t give details because I lost many of them but lyrically it’s close to my heart. Jason Lytle also produced this one and played on it… I remember how this didn’t have drums on it till I sent it over to drummer John Panza. I only had a few weeks before I had to turn it in, and I decided to just add all these final and over the top touches on the whole LP. I remember sending it back to Jason with the newly added drums and guitars on it and he said somethings that stuck with me. He said that It’s at the tail end of making a record when you just want it to be done and time is closing in, that you add the best final touches and that’s best part about making records…. Or something super wise like that.
Also – I wrote this song at 4:44am and months after I kept seeing 4:44 everywhere, I have that kind of magic that follows me. As the end 4:44am leaves the whole collection of songs as a questioning……..
I don’t know what’s coming next, my life has been one insanely beautiful collection of circus memories and special moments that I could never have been predicted, I will say there’s definitely more in the cauldron.
The witches and ghosts will bring me back soon.
Stream: ‘Kramies’ – Kramies
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? © Elli Nonemacher
:: Stream Kramies ::