Lake Tahoe’s hottest homegrown band will bring a collection of new tunes to familiar stomping grounds when it plays the North Shore this weekend.
Dead Winter Carpenters play Crystal Bay Casino on Saturday. The show is the release party for “Dirt Nap,” the band’s first EP and the first release since 2012’s “Ain’t It Strange.” The band will play a second release party Jan. 10 at the Independent in San Francisco.
The band includes Jenni Charles (fiddle, vocals), Bryan Daines (guitar, vocals), Jesse Dunn (guitar, vocals), Brian Huston (drums, vocals, spoons) and Dave Lockhart (double bass, vocals, harmonica, sitar, viola).
“Dirt Nap” features six new tunes by the Dead Winter Carpenters. The album was recorded at Heavenly Tracks in Stateline in July 2013.
“It was an overall incredible experience,” Dunn said in August. “It was a really beautiful setting. As cliché as it sounds, it’s kind of a breath of fresh air — a brand new, state-of-the-art facility. Alex (DeLuca, Heavenly Tracks Owner) is a really great and knowledgeable guy, very accommodating and welcoming.”
The first track on “Dirt Nap” makes it clear that DWC is holding true to its sound. “Long Arm of the Law” jumps right into folk rhythm punctuated by searing Cajun fiddle and rocking guitar licks with a beat that just might make you try to stomp through the floor.
The band also included a number of guest musicians that expand the album’s sound beyond the band’s prior efforts. Pedal steel guitar is included on “Easy Sleep” and banjo on “Bootleg Jack.”
“In the studio we were able to bring in some guest musicians,” Dunn said. “We’ve been wanting to bring in pedal steel for a long time.”
For that instrument, DWC phoned up longtime California musician Pete Grant.
“His resume, he’s recorded with the Grateful Dead, he played on a song called ‘Doing That Rag,’ so he’s been around through all that,” Dunn said.
The band reached back to American folk tradition in Lockhart’s “Triumph,” which has clear references to the 19th century gospel song “Angel Band,” featured in 2000’s “O Brother Where Art Thou.”
“I wanted to write something that felt good and uplifting and that had a positive message, so I used that as a springboard to start from,” Lockhart said, “There’s plenty of songs about hard time and troubles, so I used that lyrical theme to work the rest in.”
Dunn made it clear the new songs will be played differently onstage than they are presented on the album.
“There’s certainly a difference between what we’re doing onstage and in the studio,” he said. “The studio lets us compact those songs and use different instruments.
“In the live settings we’re able to stretch those songs out a little bit more, do a little bit more improvisation,” he said. “I definitely feel like these songs are a different animal in the live setting.”
In the months to come, DWC hopes to be at work on a follow-up recording.
“I’m really excited to record the rest of the material that we haven’t recorded yet,” Lockhart said.
“We do have some new material that we’re looking to lay down with a new EP during spring, maybe summer,” Dunn said. “EP or a full length, we’ve also discussed a live recording too. We’re throwing around ideas. We’re just trying to be creative about it, see what people are digging, what they’re not.”
Fans will certainly await future records. In the meantime, the Dead Winter Carpenter’s music has taken an unmistakable step forward with “Dirt Nap.”
The album is available for streaming and download on Dead Winter Carpenter’s website.