Snow Machine was a musical project from Katharine McElroy of Birmingham, Alabama bands, Three Finger Cowboy and Nineteen Forty-Five. For this record, she wrote and sang all of the songs, and played most of the instruments. Soft and moody, with whimsical grooves and a cinematic vibe, the soundscapes created by McElroy’s production serve her melodies and words in a completely different way than her other projects. Here is her 2005 bio written for the release of Snow Machine.
I spent the car trips of my youth in the back of a gold Buick station wagon. My dad was a career Marine, so my family was constantly moving or visiting relatives in far-off states. I whittled away the travel hours by staging elaborate G.I. Joe battles on the backward-facing seat. Mom ruled the cassette player with an iron fist, and I screamed my head off to every Carpenters, Anne Murray, and Elton John tune she played. For revenge, my older brothers would pin me down and fart on my head. Dad retired when I was nine, and we settled in Birmingham. That first summer, my family crashed in my grandparent’s cobwebby old house while my parents searched for a permanent residence. There weren’t enough beds for everyone, so I slept at night on a stack of oriental rugs. Most of my waking time was spent watching golden era MTV and drawing animals. Before school started we moved into a home in the suburbs.Around the age of 12, I developed a painful fixation with U2. I pulled the tiny guitar that I had so desperately wanted but never played out of the closet and decided to become a rock star. My girlfriends and I formed a band that lasted about a week. During our brief but fabled career we wrote a single song that tackled the sensitive issue of abortion from a preteen virgin’s perspective. I’m going to remind Chrissie of that when I see her tonight.My high school years were a thing of beauty. I often wore my Velvet Underground shirt and Doc Martens, because that was how I thought coolness was measured in the early nineties in our area. By that time I was playing lead guitar with Pangaea the Supercontinent, Inc. We were technically little more than a Pixies cover band, but our singer wore a trench coat and our bassist had a very impressive white boy afro. Our live show involved a rubber chicken and a giant screwdriver.In college, I bounced around from band to band. I met Craig during my freshman year. He is a good person to watch t.v. with. Lester was also around then, but I had known him since he dated my friend Susan in the seventh grade. A couple of years later, Reed and Hunter came to school. Reed and I played together in his band Soda Pop, and Hunter joined my band Three Finger Cowboy during our Fleetwood Mac Love Triangle Moment in History.So, at some point Three Finger Cowboy wasn’t really working out anymore. Hunter and I reconfigured as Nineteen Forty-Five, which we believe is still functional today. And after swearing off songwriting for several years, I finally sat behind the piano and thought up some new tunes. According to my lyrics, I am a much sadder person than I used to be. I think my mother started worrying about me more after hearing these songs.These days, Hunter and I spend most of our time hanging out in our little home with our dogs. Our house is made of brick and lies near a fancy outdoor mall in Birmingham. We sometimes record local bands in our basement studio. Recently, Amy Ray came over to record some songs for her new record. Hunter played her a couple of my new songs, and she told me that she wanted to release my recordings. I thought that was awfully nice of her. So I said thank you, and I named my band Snow Machine.