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Sunday, October 26

Review: Dead Winter Carpenters - Lafayette’s Music Room - Memphis, TN - October 2, 2014

The stage at the original Lafayette’s Music Room was home to legendary musicians such as Billy Joel, Barry Manilow, Big Star, Kansas, J.J. Cale, Leon Russell and Kiss. On October 2, 2014, 38 years after it closed down, Lafayette’s Music Room saw its grand reopening. Chosen to help celebrate the grand reopening was a California acoustic rock/Americana band, the Dead Winter Carpenters. Consisting of Jenni Charles (fiddle), Jesse Dunn (guitar), Dave Lockhart (upright bass), Bryan Daines (guitar) and Brian Huston (drums), the Dead Winter Carpenters have traveled around the country rocking venues, festivals and audiences of all shapes and sizes. The event was the Dead Winter Carpenters’ first ever trip to Memphis, and before the show, the band admitted to me that they were not used to playing to the sit-down dinner table crowd that makes Lafayette’s Music Room so unique. They assured me, however, that it would not hold them back, and they did not let me down.
Featuring a well-planned mix of original material and covers of artists such as Merle
 Haggard, Stanley Brothers and Ryan Adams, the band immediately held the crowd’s attention, and by the second or third song, they had a solid group of the sit-down dinner table crowd on its feet. The Dead Winter Carpenters’ unique sound embodies all of the most prominent forms of American music. The band’s blend of country, bluegrass and Americana incorporates many distinct elements of jazz and blues. Most specifically, Lockhart’s walking bass lines gave many of the songs a traditional jazz feel. What struck me most about the band’s performance, however, was that every single member sang lead vocals on at least one song. It’s easy to see how such a well-rounded group of musicians has captured audiences in every corner of the country.
The Dead Winter Carpenters’ Memphis debut was a huge success. Their energy was hot and their confidence and poise on stage were only bested by their unmistakable love for playing music. The band primarily played tunes off their latest two records, the darker themed Ain’t It Strange (2012) and the more uplifting Dirt Nap EP (2014), but dipped into their first album for a song or two as well. Charles dug deep on the fiddle, shredding through dissonant harmonies and resolving them seamlessly. Dunn and Daines complemented each other beautifully on the guitars, filling the necessary spaces, but leaving enough breathing room and staying out of each other’s way. While Daines seemed to be the primary soloist, Dunn rocked out a couple himself, while Lockhart and Huston held down a firm backbeat. Those who stayed through until the end were treated to a “How To Make A Living 101” sandwich around a groovy “Lonesome Fiddle Blues” to finish off a great night of music at what will surely become a premier live music venue in Memphis, Tennessee.
Words: Randy Harris
Photos: Ellis Jones 

First Set:
One Foot in the Gutter >
Bootleg Jack >
Counting Flowers on the Well – Stanley Bros. >
Cabin Fever
Good Old Time
Find Your Home
Appalachian Night 
Colorado Wildfire
Big River – Johnny Cash
Long Arm of the Law 
Whiskey Ain’t My Wife
Second Set:
Detrimental Tendencies
Sun Don’t Shine >
How Mountain Girls Can Love – Ralph Stanley >
Love Amongst Thieves
Let It Ride – Ryan Adams
Wrote You A Song
Holy Moses >
Walkin’ Shoes >
Easy Sleep
Mama Tried – Merle Haggard
Okie From Muskogee – Merle Haggard
Back to the Well
I Shot Him
How to Make a Living 101 >
Lonesome Fiddle Blues >

How To Make A Living 101
 ©Grateful Music LLC