Lake Tahoe’s own Dead Winter Carpenters are back with a new EP released on April 24, “Sinners ‘n’ Freaks.” It is the group’s fifth studio effort and is part of the band’s celebration of its 10th anniversary. Recorded at Baxter’s Ranch in Auburn, California, and produced by Dead Winter Carpenters, as well as Matt Baxter. Dead Winter Carpenters consist of Jesse Dunn (acoustic guitar, vocals), Jenni Charles (fiddle, vocals), Nick Swimley (electric guitar, vocals), Brendan Smith (drums, percussion, vocals), Jeremy Plog (bass, baritone guitar, electric guitar, vocals), with the multi-dimensional Jackie Greene guesting (piano, Hammond B3 organ).
The band is known for blending traditional Americana string styles. This is apparent with the first song, title track “Sinners ‘n’ Freaks.” Good singing with Dunn and Charles is accompanied by a midtempo groove with a little funk. Charles’ fiddle playing gives everything grassy touch. Good start.
Next is “Time Off The Bottle,” featuring Charles on lead vocals. It’s a ballad, and Jackie Greene’s B3 shines through along the horizon of the musical soundscape. “Cornerstone” has a decisive country feel to it. There’s some tasty underneath electric guitar fills weaving with Greene’s B3 base. Nice recurring fiddle sub hook as well.
“Lift Me Up” is another bittersweet, folksy ballad, with good dueling vocals from Dunn and Charles. The EP rounds out with a dancey hoedown-turned country shuffle in “Green Room Baby.”
I personally sometimes categorize collections of music by mood and environment. I listened to this EP in the morning, and its wooden, stringed ambiance was a great start to the day over a cup of coffee. There’s a good variety of styles at play – folk, country, hints of bluegrass, hints of Americana jam. Overall, a welcomed addition to your quarantine playlist.
— Jon Siembieda
- Dead Winter Carpenters
- ‘Sinners ‘n’ Freaks’
- Released: April 24, 2020
Jackie Greene inset photo by Clare Foster.