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Friday, November 15

Album Review: Dead Winter Carpenters - Dirt Nap 2014

Wake Up! It’s Time for a Dirt Nap

If you’ve never heard of Dead Winter Carpenters, now’s the time to pay attention. Their third record,  EP Dirt Nap is worthy of putting in the CD player and ripping off the eject button. I’ve listened to these six songs no less than 20 times since yesterday afternoon, and I hear a little something new and different every time. 
Recorded in two sessions with engineer Matt Wright, spanning eight days in July and September of 2013 at Heavenly Tracks in Lake Tahoe, Dirt Nap brings together songs that that band had previously played, in varying degrees, on the road with good response from the audience. Of the recording studio at Heavenly Tracks, lead singer and acoustic guitarist Jesse Dunn said “We were the first band to record in the new studio.  It really has a rustic mountain aesthetic, and the space is state of the art, filled with top notch recording gear.  Being in the studio gets your creative brain working in a different capacity, so we were able to use some unique tricks to give the songs a new life outside of the live format.  We're extremely proud of how the record came out.” 
The opening track, “Long Arm of the Law,” mixes finger-knot picking and smooth fiddling to tell the story of a man running from the law, looking for his chance to set the record straight. Next up, “Easy Sleep” is one of the most upbeat songs of unrequited love you’ll ever hear. And you’ll listen to it over and over. The harmony between Dunn and Jenni Charles can bring tears as easily as smiles and the pedal steel, played by Pete Grant (Grateful Dead, Tone, Tony, Toni) adds a distinct and well placed saucy flavor. 
Taking notes while listening, I wrote (Banjo and spoons…nice. Dam, I love this song),  about “Bootleg Jack,” who, just before daylight, gets going and makes his day bootlegging “From here to Georgia.” “Colorado Wildfire” is a mellow tune that asks where Mother Nature’s child has gone. Not to keep the mood low too long, “Triumph” tells the story of a man who’s sure happiness will come, though it seems elusive, clouded by the troubles and blues in his life.
The final track, “West Shore Town,” starts out as a sad and rainy waltz. Fiddle, soft drums and acoustic guitar emphasize the story of a man sinking away from his town in search of his love. The song slowly builds to a crescendo just after the 3 minute mark and a sad guitar solo that brings us back only to break our hearts with “I’ll never find my love.”
The EP is short coming in at just six songs, but that just means there’s more time to hit repeat. Constantly improving on past works and risking out into new territory all the while staying true to their Folk-rock roots, Dirt Nap is that step in the right direction, commendable, as it's a great step to make.
The EP, Dirt Nap is scheduled for release on January 10, 2014, but a ‘pay what you want’ download is available via bandcamp here.  And in case you haven't had the pleasure of acquainting yourself with this group of traveling musical work-hounds, the Dead Winter Carpenters are: Jenni Charles (fiddle, vocals) Bryan Daines (guitar, vocals) Jesse Dunn (guitar, vocals) Brian Huston (drums, vocals, spoons) Dave Lockhart (double bass, vocals, harmonica, sitar and viola)Have you listened yet?  Share your thoughts with us, here or on Facebook
Words: Dan Fugate
Edited: Sammy Martin
*They have 2  EP Release Parties planned for December 14th at the Crystal Bay Casino in Lake Tahoe, as well as January 10 at The Independent in San Francisco.
 ©Grateful Music LLC