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Winter Stories

Official release date: October 4, 2019

[read the press release]

A jazz trio type of album,
inspired by the feel of Winter.

Featuring Steve Rodby on acoustic bass and Khari Parker on drums (on brushes), this is Brian’s first foray into a traditional jazz sounding album. It is still melodic and ‘produced’ but at its roots is a very jazz oriented album.

Scroll down for more info…

Track Listing:

  1. Sitting By The Fire

  2. Montana Skies

  3. Morning Walk

  4. Flurries

  5. City Sleigh Ride

  6. Waltz For M

  7. Island Dream

  8. Northern Lights

  9. Frosted Window

  10. Starry Night


Brian Culbertson — Piano, Wurlizter, Fender Rhodes, Hammond B3 Organ, Celeste, Shaker, Clave, Chimes, and Wind Whistle.

Steve Rodby — Acoustic Bass

Khari Parker — Drums

Lenny Castro — Bongos, Sleigh Bells, and Shaker on “City Sleigh Ride” and “Island Dream”

Photos from the sessions:

Joshua Younger — Piano Technician
Steve Rodby — Acoustic Bass
Khari Parker — Drums
Lenny Castro — Percussion
Craig Bauer — Mix Engineer
Dave Collins — Mastering Engineer

Music Minus Ones & Sheet Music:

Hey musicians, I just released the “Music Minus One” mixes of this record (No Piano version, No Drums version, and No Bass version) so that you can play along at home. I’ve had such great feedback from my other releases, that I will continue to do this on all future album. Hope you enjoy! Plus, you can also download all of the charts (leadsheets) for FREE:

The ‘stories’ behind Winter Stories:

Dear listener,

Winter is a time for reflection for many people, myself included. It’s a time to slow down from our crazy lives and enjoy what means the most to you. This winter, I spent part of the holidays writing music to capture my feelings. While this is not a “Christmas” album, there’s definitely a feel of the holiday spirit included in this collection. 

With that said, here are ten of my winter stories...


Watching the flames do their dance is absolutely mesmerizing to me. Somehow, nothing else matters in the world at that moment. Time stands still as I gaze into the fire, seeing tiny hints of blue morph into bright orange while feeling the warmth and hearing the roar. Of course, a glass of red wine is also in hand. 


This only exists in my mind as I’ve never been to Montana. However, I can imagine the wide open expanse of snow and the feeling of freedom you get from the ‘big sky.’ I also sometimes think about being far away from everything and everyone. A chance to recharge. This song is a way for me to travel there in my head


I love an early morning walk just as the sun rises, especially in the winter. It’s so crisp and invigorating. I don’t often take walks in the morning as I typically go in the afternoons. But there’s something really special about the light, the energy, the air, the smell of a morning walk. I wrote this track after one such jaunt, starting with the drum pattern which is like footsteps. Kinda reminds me of a steppers groove.


I think everyone likes snow flurries. They’re just fun! They never accumulate into much on the ground, but it’s like looking into a real life snow globe for awhile. And many times, it’s a surprise as flurries don’t seem to be predicted. That makes them even more magical. 


Ever take a sleigh ride in the middle of the city? Me neither, lol. If you do however, I bet it’d be a bit bumpy. But for sure, an adventure!


A slow dance with the one you love is a feeling like nothing else. Somehow the butterflies come back in your stomach, like it was the first time. Connecting with someone in this way is very special and one I will never take for granted. Why is this included in my winter stories you might ask? M and I find ourselves slow dancing with the mood strikes and the mood strikes often, especially in wintertime. 


The mind is so powerful. I was walking around Chicago in January absolutely freezing when a song came on a random playlist I was listening to. It was a reggae track and I was instantly transported to Jamaica and honestly felt warmer. ‘Island Dream” is my nod to that experience and I hope it can bring you some warmth when you need it most. It begins in a very nostalgic mood, but then you start to daydream and are immediately laying on a beach drinking something with an umbrella in it. There are a couple moments that keep you connected to home, but for the most part, this is a tropical escape. The end of course brings you back to reality.


One of the most beautiful natural phenomena is the Aurora Borealis. Solar particles traveling at unimaginable speeds react with the Earth’s magnetic field and create the world’s most spectacular light show. While this is not a song in the traditional sense, it is more akin to a ‘soundtrack’ which I felt was more appropriate for something of this magnitude. Close your eyes and visit the arctic. 


A newly frosted window is inspiring to look through. Everything is distorted, creating an alternate reality. I can get lost looking at the trees, the sky, the birds, the clouds, all while contemplating life, hearing new melodies, and thinking of all sorts of things. May this introspective piece of music be inspiring to you. 


On a cold clear night, you can see you breath along with the billions stars. It can make you feel totally insignificant but at the same time thankful to be alive in order to experience our incredible universe. Somehow there’s more levity to a winter’s starry night than in any other season, at least for me. Maybe because of the cold air. 

Thank you for listening to my winter stories.
May they bring you happiness, peace, warmth, and joy.

~ Brian Culbertson

Album Credits:

All Songs Written, Arranged, and Produced by Brian Culbertson
Executive Produced by Brian Culbertson and Micaela Haley

Piano engineered by Brian Culbertson and Scott Steiner. Drums engineered by Mat Prock. Bass engineered by Steve Rodby and Brian Culbertson. Lenny Castro's percussion engineered by Jordan Silva

Mixed by Craig Bauer at Hinge Studios and Brian Culbertson BCM Studios. Mastered by Dave Collins at Dave Collins Mastering. 

Piano Tech: Joshua Younger
Studio Tech: Alex Burns
Music Transcriptions & Prep: Michael Stever

All songs published by BCME Music (ASCAP) c/o Karen Schauben Publishing.

Brian Culbertson played the Mason & Hamlin model BB 7' acoustic grand piano recorded with a pair of Lewitt Audio LCT 540 "Sub Zero" microphones through a Millennia HV-3C mic pre all with Mogami cables on this album. Brian also uses Roland keyboards and Roland Cloud.

Studio Gear:

For those of you studio cats, here’s a list of the gear used on this recording…

All tracks Recorded and Mixed at 32-Bit/96kHz in ProTools.

Piano: Mason & Hamlin model BB 7’ acoustic grand piano

Piano Microphones: Lewitt Audio LCT 540 “Subzero” (pair)

Piano Mic Pre: Millennia HV-3C

Piano Compressor: GML 8900 (during the mix)

Organ: Vintage Hammond B3 with Leslie speaker

Organ Microphones: Lewitt Audio LCT 540’s (pair) on top, Lewitt Audio LCT 640 on bottom

Organ Mic Pre: Vintage Neve 1272 (stereo) on top, BAE 1073 on bottom mic

Rhodes: Vintage Fender Rhodes (direct)

Rhodes Mic Pre: Millennia HV-3C

Wurlitzer: Vintage Wurlitzer (direct)

Wurly Mic Pre: Vintage Neve 1272

Chimes Microphones: Sennheiser MKH-800’s (pair)

Chimes Mic Pre: Millennia HV-3C

Bongos Microphones: 3 Shure SM57’s (L&R, plus a Center ‘Room’)

Bongos Mic Pres: API’s

Shaker/Tambourine/Clave/Wind Whistle Microphones: Lewitt Audio LCT 540

Shaker/Tambourine/Clave/Wind Whistle Mic Pre: Millennia HV-3C

Acoustic Bass Microphones: Audio Technica AT4047, Kel HM 2D, and Kel 7U. Plus a DI.

Drums Microphones/Signal Flow:
Kick (in): Lewitt Audio DTP 640 REX through a Vintage Neve 1272 mic pre
Kick (out): Yamaha “Sub Kick” through a Heritage 2264 Jr. mic pre
Snare (top): Lewitt Audio MTP 440 DM through a Vintage Neve 1272 mic pre
Snare (bottom): Shure SM57 through a Heritage 2264 Jr. mic pre
Hi-Hat: Lewitt Audio LCT 340 through an API 512C mic pre
Toms: Lewitt Audio DTP 640 TT (2) through 2 Millennia HV35 mic pre’s
OH’s: Sennheiser MKH-800’s (pair) through a Millennia HV-3C stereo mic pre

Order “Winter Stories” now!

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