An exciting blend of bluegrass, folk and rock ‘n’ roll, The Dead Winter Carpenters are Americana at its best. Their sophomore album ain’t it strange debuted this past week and is the band’s best work yet.
Like many groups these days, they are lucky enough not to need a record label to record their music – they just need their fan base. The kindness and generosity of their fans through the fundraising website KickStarter.com surpassed the band’s intended goal. They raised over $12,500 to comfortably make their album without having to answer to anyone but themselves.
“We wouldn’t have been able to come up with as good of album without KickStarter that’s for sure,” guitarist Jesse Dunn said. “It allowed us to reach out to our fans and take donations. We were giving away pre-release signed copies of the CDs as well as T-shirts, trucker hats made here in Tahoe and high-fives.”
With money in the bank, the band retreated to Prairie Sun Recording Studios in Cotati, California, in January to record ain’t it strange. It took a lot of hard work but Dunn said it was satisfying to complete it.
“It’s almost like creating a baby of your own that you take from the beginning to the end,” he said.
Recording was a nice break for a band that tours almost constantly. They band has played 165 shows in 15 states since the release of their debut self-titled album. Now with new songs in their roster and plenty of gas in their tanks, the Dead Winter Carpenters are ready to do it all over again.
Guitarist Dunn, fiddler Jenni Charles, upright bassist Dave Lockhart, guitarist Sean Duerr and drummer Ryan Davis work together to create soulful, colorful songs that are meaningful and plenty of fun. There is also no lead singer and no “front man.”
“We all sing, which is a cool thing,” Dunn said.
Getting together seemed like an obvious decision, as everyone in the band clicked very early on.
“We’ve been together about two years now,” Dunn said. “We formed the band, and it was kind of a conglomeration of two different bands and a group of friends that we had. We’re musicians and friends, and we’re looking for a new outlet for that and had a good chemistry between the five of us. It’s been full steam ahead ever since.”
According to Dunn, their home of North Lake Tahoe, California, is taking off musically and suits them quite perfectly.
“It’s actually really growing in a very fostering, welcoming community,” he said. “There’s a lot of creative folks up here and a lot of passion for life and different outdoor activity. They certainly love their rock ‘n’ roll and bluegrass too, so we’ve come into a good home base here.”
The Dead Winter Carpenters will be playing plenty of festivals this summer, which feels like the perfect place for their music to shine. Their sound is robust and homegrown.
“I think the hope is that people go to our shows just seeking to have a good time,” Dunn said. ‘Whether that’s meeting up with friends or dancing the night away or just having finding the unique and festive experience, it’s a place where you can go and have a good time.”
Dunn said the band hopes for the same to happen onstage.
“Our best shows are when we’re creating an energy exchange between ourselves and the audience. We feed off them in that realm,” he said.
Dead Winter Carpenters, The Rhythm Room, June 3, 8 p.m., $6