Today I'm going to write about a band whose music deeply touched my heart and soul from the moment I heard it. This band is called Cloud Cult, they come from Minnesota, United States. Not only is their music deeply influenced by religion - not in a way that they would persuade you to believe in God, it's only a manifest of their belief and what it means to them - but they are also environmentally oriented.
The band has been together for many years, mainly playing in United States. Their lyrics are deep and powerful and the reason might be hidden in the story behind most of the songs, a tragic event that singer and guitarist Craig Minowa and his wife, visual artist Connie Minowa, had to go through. They lost their young son when he was just two years old. This profound loss had a deep impact on both artists. To cope with the tragedy somehow, Craig locked himself in his home studio, writing and recording songs to release his grief. He wasn't thinking about playing these songs to an audience at the time until his friend and fellow Cloud Cult member Scott West convinced him to do so. After reading this you might think the songs must be dark and sad. Well, you're right in a way but there's a silver lining. You feel certain hope in the songs. But the grief and ways to cope with it are one of the frequent themes of the songs, the other theme being the meaning of our lives, our purpose on the Earth. These are songs that make you think about what you hear.
Cloud Cult first came to my attention in 2014 when they were headlining Folk holidays festival in Namest nad Oslavou, Czech Republic. This was their European debut and the only European performance to this day. I didn't know anything about them but since the festival organizers presented them as one of the biggest stars of that year's festival I listened to a few songs in advance just to get an idea what to expect. And immediately fell in love.
What exactly was that drew me to this band? It's difficult putting it into words. Every live show of Cloud Cult is a sort of spiritual experience. And also, I have always been someone who pays attention to lyrics and loves deep and philosophical lyrics. And as a songwriter myself, I'm trying to write songs that have a meaning. There is no doubt that Cloud Cult's lyrics deeply touch you and continue to resonate with you long after you left the show. This impression comes even when you listen to the recordings. Another thing that made me fall in love with Cloud Cult's music is the combination of the instruments they play - guitar, violin, piano, cello, bass/trombone/banjo. Powerful and haunting at times. And the presence of a visual artist (or two) on stage in something I have never seen before. At every show, there is a different painting coming to live in front of the audience and it's awesome to see it developing right in front of you.
Breakfast with My Shadow
Why should you listen to Cloud Cult? The main reasons were already mentioned above. Powerful lyrics and an awesome combination of instruments that just adds to the whole feeling. Once you see them live, you will admire them even more and want to see them again as soon as possible. The band has also released two films, one called No One Said It Would Be Easy, released in 2009, captures the story of the band. The other movie, released last year, called The Seeker, was written by Cloud Cult and features their music. The movie tells a moving story of a girl who looses her father at a young age and tries to deal with it as she grows up.
One thing that still stands out for me from Folk holidays where we met is not only the concert itself but also the workshop the band had there where Craig was openly talking about the tragedy he experienced and how it influenced his songwriting and approach to life itself. It really touched me how open he was to complete strangers.
I became friends with Craig and the friendship lasts to this day. I feel so honoured to call this inspirational human being my friend, such a generous and kind man and an artist I respect from the bottom of my heart.