Matt Pond PA, Alexa Rose

Bathtub Cig

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ALEXA: I grew up in the mountains of western Virginia. These mountains are some of the oldest in the world, and time has worn their peaks gently, but some are still enchanted by snow in the winter. I was obsessed with that elusive snow, which sometimes blessed the neighboring towns but seldom visited our tiny holler. I listened to the radio in the dark hours of morning, waiting for our county to be added to the list of school closings. Underneath the snow day, there’s a longing for peace, for the wheels of the world to stop for a while.

In high school, someone slipped me a mix CD with songs I have long forgotten—except one. “Snow Day” by Matt Pond PA finally explained this feeling to me: “The people we have become still lay awake, hoping to hear airwaves say, ‘Snow day, snow day.’ ” It did what a good song is supposed to do: make you feel seen, like the way you feel about something is not only normal but important.

A decade later, I wrote a song called “Wild Peppermint” with a lyric mentioning the mix CD and Matt Pond PA.

MATT: The first time I heard “Wild Peppermint,” I got chills. I couldn’t believe that such a wildly talented musician would mention my name in a song. There’s nothing greater than being appreciated by someone you admire. It seemed natural to ask if Alexa would sing on a song I’d written. We spoke on the phone and seemed to understand each other, furthering the natural progression.

ALEXA: Through the miracle of the internet, Matt heard the song and reached out to me. It was such a kind gesture, and a full circle moment. As it turns out, we’re both weird, gloomy songwriters with a penchant for nostalgia. It’s an easy friendship.

MATT: She drove up from Virginia to the Hudson Valley, and during the hottest week of the summer in July 2023, we started building music that resonated with everyone involved: Chris Hansen recording and accompanying on guitar, Hilary James on cello, and Claudia Forest on violin.

These collaborations are the reason I continue making music.