Touring with the band has been an amazing blessing. It’s through those years of touring that I was able to see so much of the beauty this country has to offer and that I met and love many of you …”
Lockhart moved to New Jersey for family reasons a year ago but continued to perform with the band. That leaves fiddler Jenni Charles and guitarist Jesse Dunn as the remaining original members. Nick Swimley plays guitar and Brendan Smith plays the drums.
The Dead Winter Carpenters formed in 2010 when Dunn and Lockhart’s band Montana Slim merged with Charles’ Rusty Strings. Its first formal show was a Red Room after-party for Yonder Mountain String Band. Within two years DWC was selling out ticketed shows in the larger Crown Room.
“We’ve far surpassed any expectations we had going in as a group,” Dunn said. “We just knew it was fun to play and people were digging what we were putting out. We’ve had some incredible moments. We’ve played in great venues and major festivals and have released a lot of original material and our goal is to continue to do those things.
“I am going to miss Dave a whole lot. He’s become like a brother to me. … We’re marching on. We just feel we’ve invested so much time that it’s our duty to ourselves and our fans to keep this thing going. We want to build on the foundation we’ve laid down.”
Lockhart announced his decision on Facebook: “Friends, I’ve made the very difficult decision to leave Dead Winter Carpenters. My little baby and my family need me around more than I can be as a touring musician. We moved to New Jersey to be closer to family, and I need to be here, in New Jersey, to be a part of that family.
“Touring with the band has been an amazing blessing. It’s through those years of touring that I was able to see so much of the beauty this country has to offer and that I met and love many of you who are reading this presently. I can’t speak volumes enough how much this traveling lifestyle has impacted me. And you, the folks that came out time and again to see us do what we love to do, have, in a large way, made my world go round.”
The band responded: “We are beyond grateful for Dave’s contributions as a friend, musician, collaborator, and co-conspirator with Dead Winter Carpenters since the inception in 2010. Words could never express how much pure joy we’ve shared together over the years. Dave has written some soul stirring, heel kickin’ tunes, and we’ll miss his presence on stage thumping that dog-house bass…”
Lockhart’s replacement hasn’t been announced.
The Dead Winter Carpenters, which will release a single in the coming weeks, have several dates scheduled on the East Coast in April and early May. In a benefit for Seva Foundation on June 2, the band plays in The UC Theater in Berkeley for the first time, This summer it is slated to appear at the Weiser River Musical Festival in Idaho and Guitarfish in nearby Cisco Grove.