Zan & the Winter Folk

Winter folk for every season.

Zan Strumfeld


-3rd Best Singer-Songwriter, The Alt Weekly's Readers' Poll (2017)
-Listed on “Top 50 Independent/Unsigned Folk Acts,” UK’s Independent Music News
-“In The Kitchen”—#31 on WEXT 97.7’s Top 60 Local 518 of 2018
-“What You Do”—#49 on WEXT 97.7’s Top 60 Local 518 of 2018
-“Grocery List”—#46 on WEXT 97.7’s Top 60 Local 518 of 2017
-"Keep On Lovin' You"—#6 on WEXT 97.7's Top 60 Local 518 of 2013
-“Far Removed”—#28 on WEXT 97.7’s Top 60 Local 518 of 2012
-Listed Under Saratoga Living’s 8 Female Musicians From Upstate New York You Should Be Listening To Right Now

Strumfeld has a different musical sensibility, but just as powerful an execution as O’Keefe. Her voice can do more than carry a tune. It’s got a sweet steadiness that draws one in, complete with lilting melodies and harmonies that offer a reprieve from the harried pace of the day.”
—Indiana Nash, The Daily Gazette

If you were to judge Zan Strumfeld solely by her lyrics, “you would think that I was a very sad, lonely, heartbroken, just like desperate-ish person,” the Troy-based singer-songwriter said in a recent interview.

That’s not actually the case, Strumfeld says. She just tends to write at a “very typical, clichéd songwriting time”: amid heartbreak.

Though seemingly at peace with this truth about her creative process, she’s grown tired of being the “girl sitting in the corner playing acoustic sad songs,” she says. Now set to record a demo, or maybe a series of demos, with a band she formed almost a year ago, Strumfeld’s lyrics are still sad, but the music “is so much more upbeat”—a welcome change that she connects to her three (sometimes four) bandmates’ fairly disparate tastes.

Zan and the band—Mike Jenkins (upright bass), Michael Gregg (banjo), Will Brown (lead guitar), and Brendan Tompkins (drums)—also intend to tour this fall. She describes their sound as a mix of folk, indie, bluegrass, and blues but says she’s “still waiting for someone to describe it better.”
—Luke Stoddard Nathan, TheAlt


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"Strumfeld sings with the understated vulnerability of Laura Marling and the lighthearted soul of Lake Street Dive’s Rachel Price. When combined with the homespun nature of the music, it adds up to a batch of folk songs steeped in every day relate-ability."                     
—Ian McCuen, BuffaBlog

"She’s got one of those voices that would sound appealing just reciting the phone book, but (naturally enough) sounded even better delivering her original songs of love and heartbreak. [Strumfeld writes] concise songs with a lasting impact—definitely Top 40 material in my alternate universe."
—Steven Stock, Nippertown

"You should know this is a sad song. I mean, 'there’s a banjo in the band' level of sad songs. You can hear the anguish bleed through the 20 strings and wistful lead of Zan and the heartache harmonies of the fellas. The 'Kalamazoo' part doesn’t really come in until the end but it is nice that we’ve got another gal to remember us in song."
—Bobby Guy, K1025-Kalamazoo, Michigan

“Sure, the subject matter can be a touch depressing—as good acoustic music tends to be—but her lyrics are knowing looks across a well-lit room, not idle navel-gazing in the dark."
—Josh Potter, Metroland

“In a world drowning in auto-tuned, lyrically-inept drivel, Strumfeld has carved herself a beautiful little niche of music perfect for Sunday mornings, road trips and just about every other occasion you can think of.”
Carolyn Quimby, The New Paltz Oracle


All photos taken by Beth Mickalonis.