Toronto’s Tamara Lindeman records as the Weather Station and her latest EP, What Am I Going to Do With Everything I Know is a statement, not a question. Compared with a feminine version of Sun Kil Moon, but sounding a whole lot like early Joni Mitchell, just without the flutter in her voice, the songs on the EP are lush and quiet. You get just Lindeman’s voice, her acoustic guitar, an occasional pedal steel guitar or background vocal, and perhaps a lightly brushed drum every now and again. To that end, this EP can easily recede into the background, and become like paint or wallpaper. This demands close attention, and an ear glued to the speaker. However, there are rewards for those with patience, and the EP does feel remotely whole and complete in sound. My only real quibble is with the final song “Almost Careless”, which, at two minutes and 12 seconds, feels to run out of gas just when it starts going. However, the rest of the EP really shines, and it’s no wonder that Lindeman has guested on records by Doug Paisley, Daniel Romano and Wayne Petti. She is in demand simply because she has talent.
Even though this EP is best suited to bedtime, as it feels like an extended lullaby, it does resonate and stick with the listener. “Don’t Understand” appears to be a ballad of the life of a touring musician, someone who sleeps on the couches in other people’s houses and goes through their record collections looking for a nugget. Meanwhile, Lindeman’s voice is soft and wispy, and her finger-picking is malleable and gentle. Listening to this EP is like attending a songwriting session with a folk musician who clearly knows her craft. The songs feel sad and mournful, and everything in Lindeman’s world seems to be on the cusp of vanishing completely. That makes these six songs fragile and ornate. So this is a short album best enjoyed with a cup of cappuccino or green tea, and on a crisp fall day with the sunlight gently fading. What Am I Going to Do With Everything I Know doesn’t profess to have answers, but it is an on-point declaration from a potent and vital Canadian folk talent.