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Brandon Grafius Announces Folk Single, “Cardinal in Winter”

The new single from Brandon Grafius, “Cardinal in Winter”, lifts the veil of the season with a buoyant flutter into spring. Melodic piano and spirited harmonica join a frolicking acoustic guitar like rays of the sun on a warm spring day. “Cardinal in Winter” is off the upcoming album, Highways and Backroads, due out May 11 on Lost Mitten Records.

A symbol of hope, “Cardinal in Winter” illuminates the glimmering light hidden beneath hovering darkness. Written for Grafius’ then girlfriend and now wife, the song opens with an airy, joyful melody offering encouragement to shovel through the winter residue. Grafius’ impassioned midwest authenticity soars on the lyrics, "cold creeps in through the windowpanes, the fire's down to embers / your soul feels like it’s frosting at the center / when it seems the sun will never come, try hard to remember /there’s a cardinal in winter." “Cardinal in Winter” is like daffodils emerging from new growth and taking their rejuvenating first breaths of spring air.

Having studied poetry, Grafius adds gravity to his lyrics that are steeped in a wide range of geographical influence. Born in Oregon, then traveling from Michigan to California in his early twenties, there’s a sense of movement mirrored throughout Highways and Backroads. Whether it’s the Sleeping Bear Dunes, the Manistee River in Benzie County, or the stretch of highway between Chicago and Lansing, each song is about finding the right place, in one way or another. Grafius explains, “This album is about place and about journeys - I find that many of the songs are structured around the duality of feeling at home in a location, but knowing that it sometimes takes a long journey to get to a sense of at-home-ness.” Some songs are explicitly about the journey, like the autobiographical “Sacramento”, while others such as, “Midwestern Sky” are about longing for that place in between.

Tour Dates

04.27 Blue Owl Coffee Co., Lansing
04.28 The Record Lounge, Lansing
05.11 Mac’s, Lansing (with Doug Mains & the City Folk and Monte Pride)
05.20 The Avenue, Lansing (with the Dangling Participles)
05.31 The Robin Theater, Lansing
06.03 Plymouth Coffee Bean, Plymouth

About Brandon Grafius

Brandon Grafius is a folk singer-songwriter from Lansing, Michigan. He has performed widely throughout Michigan and beyond, sharing the stage with artists such as Olivia Mainville and the Aquatic Troupe, Jared & The Mill, and Michigander. His intimate, finger-picked guitar style is reminiscent of Delta blues and traditional country, but fits comfortably within the modern musical landscape. He was a finalist in both the 2017 Hollywood Songwriting Competition and American Songwriting Awards. His upcoming album, Highways and Backroads, is out in May on Lost Mitten Records.


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