Calico – She’s Like a Weatherman
If a butchered hog’s melt faces toward the head, the worst part of winter will be the early part. If a butchered hog’s melt faces more to the back, the latter part of winter will be the worst. — Helen Lane, 1964
The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house, all that cold, cold, wet day. — Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat
Helen Lane, a resident of the Tennessee town of Crab Orchard, brought holisticism to the endeavor of weather prediction. Known as The Weather Prophet, Lane consulted swine spleens, cobwebs on coal piles, stripes on woolly worms, hornet nests, tree bark, and the number of morning fogs in August to create a fearless forecast that rivaled the accuracy of Bob Lobertini, WLAC’s famed weatherman who was considered the benchmark of Middle Tennessee meteorology.
Lane absorbed nature’s signals, using the subtle signs of each season to summon a chimera of the next. In Calico’s ‘She’s Like a Weatherman,’ a partner conjures the couple’s oncoming climate by surveying sighs, footsteps, the expression in his eyes, and the temperature of a morning greeting.
What kind of day they’ll have
When he first says hello
She can predict his highs and lows
No matter what the radar shows…
This empty feeling she’s predicting
Might bring a record low
Like Helen Lane, Calico is pleasantly unstuck in time. ‘She’s Like a Weatherman’ floats somewhere between classic country and jazzy torch song blues. Imagine the Andrews Sisters performing ‘St. James Infirmary’ at the Grand Ol’ Opry. But the track has a freshness, the feeling of a found object that was once familiar.
Based in Brentwood, Tennessee, Calico comprises Janene Becker, Barb Hall, and Jenny Barnes. There’s at least infinity bands out there called Calico; look for the one with the great three-part harmonies. ‘She’s Like a Weatherman’ was released as a single several snows ago in 2018, and was included in the Bongo Boy Records compilation, Homestead Volume Three.