Dead Winter Carpenters’ Jesse Dunn talks about the group’s latest, ‘Washoe’
For Dead Winter Carpenters, all roads lead back to Lake Tahoe.
Since forming in 2010, the North Shore band has played across the country, growing its fan base on the back of consistently high-energy, boot-stomping live shows.
But Lake Tahoe remains at the heart of the group, which is set to release its third full-length album, “Washoe,” on Feb. 26.
“We’re really proud of where we’re from,” said singer and guitarist Jesse Dunn during a Tuesday phone interview.
In addition to Dunn, the group includes Jenni Charles (fiddle, vocals), Dave Lockhart (bass, vocals), Bryan Daines (guitar, vocals) and Brian Huston (drums, vocals).
The band chose “Washoe” as the name for the album because of its geographic and cultural connections to Lake Tahoe. More obscurely, the band also picked “Washoe” because it is the name of the first non-human to communicate using American Sign Language, Dunn said. Washoe the chimpanzee was raised in Northern Nevada and learned sign language in Washoe County.
Dead Winter Carpenters recorded “Washoe” last summer at Sierra Sonics Studio in Reno. The band started with around 20 songs before whittling it down to the 12 on the album, crafting a track list that manages to be both diverse and cohesive. The album pushes at the previous edges of Dead Winter’s sound, but still captures the band’s unique sound. “Washoe” expands on the group’s alt-country and rock influences without abandoning the group’s bluegrass roots. Dead Winter likes to keep the door open to all kinds of musical influences, Dunn said.
“It’s exciting to get some new music out there, and we’re happy with the way it came out,” Dunn said.
Songs on the album will be familiar to those who have recently seen the band live. All of the songs are road-tested, something that helped the group capture its live sound in the studio, Dunn said.
Cuts like the party anthem “Good Old Time,” the gambling tale “Winning Hand” and the rock-influenced “North Wind” are already fan favorites, as is the enchanting ballad “If I Wrote You a Song,” which arose out of the band’s desire to create a classic duet, Dunn said. “Maverick Sky” captures Dead Winter experimenting in the studio, running Dunn’s voice through a rotating Leslie speaker to help create a psychedelic country vibe.
The album features several guest performers, including Peter Grant, a pedal steel player who adds a honky-tonk flavor to some of “Washoe,” and Tristan Selzler, who brings rollicking piano licks to “Winning Hand.”
Dead Winter Carpenters is set hold a album release party at 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, in Crystal Bay Casino’s Crown Room. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door.
Following the release of “Washoe,” the group has plans for a spring West Coast tour and festival dates in Wisconsin, Virginia and Alaska this summer. Alaska will be a first for the group, which continues to push its sound well beyond the Lake Tahoe Basin.
“It’s starting to ramp up again and we’re excited,” Dunn said. “I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
More information on purchasing Dead Winter Carpenters’ “Washoe” is available at http://deadwintercarpenters.com.
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