Winter’s Dead: Long live the Dead Winter Carpenters

Dead Winter Carpenters

Jenni Charles and the Dead Winter Carpenters played the fourth annual Winter’s Dead weekend in the Crystal Bay Casino.
Tahoe Onstage photos by Larry Sabo

North Shore’s Dead Winter Carpenters shacked up at Crystal Bay for the fourth annual Winter’s Dead concerts on May 27 -28. Spring smiles abounded.

The band has been on the road quite a bit of late, playing shows all over the Western United States, from a whiskey festival in Portland, Oregon, to Wavy Gravy’s 80th birthday party in Rohnert Park, California.

The band has been touring in support of its February album release, “Washoe.”

Dead Winter Carpenters“It’s been going great, it’s been well-received,” guitarist Jesse Dunn said. “A lot of people have told us that it’s their favorite record that we’ve done so far. We’re happy with the way it turned out.”

With a substantial lineup shift an increasingly distant memory, DWC is truly hitting its stride.

“This lineup has been together for three years now,” Dunn said. “You just get to know people personally and musically over that time. I think we’re tighter than we ever have been.”

The band has been working on enhancing its live show and on expanding its repertoire of re-imagined cover songs. While the group’s sound has grown some slight influences of alt-rock, Dead Winter Carpenter’s foundation is still firmly planted in twangy, country territory.

“Over the years our influences just kind of bleed from our pores a little more, and we all throw it in the collaborative melting pot,” Dunn said. “It helps with creating our own sound, which is what I think we’ve done.”

For this year’s Winter’s Dead weekend, the band continued its themed nights. On Friday night, the ever-popular ’90s Night returned, and Saturday called for classic Grand Ole Opry garb, with the band’s setlists varying accordingly.

While the group had no intention of creating a tradition when it held the first Winter’s Dead two-night run in 2013, the event has taken on a life of its own, becoming a regular feature in an area that loves its live music.

“This will be the fourth year,” Dunn said. “We’ve had some really amazing acts supporting the shows each year and doing the after-parties as well. It’s a thing where we get to invite friends and bands that we’ve become close with over the years.

“I guess when we started it we didn’t really have any plans of making it an annual thing, but it’s been so much fun. It’s sort of the jump off for summer, Memorial Day weekend and that sort of thing.”

This will be the first year that the event will feature the same opening and closing acts playing both nights, Hot Buttered Rum and Head for the Hills.

Beyond a fun-filled weekend on home turf, Dead Winter Carpenters will have a busy summer season, with multiple trips across the country and its first run in Alaska. The group will be appearing in August at venues in Anchorage, Healy, and Girdwood, and making a few stops along the Kenai Peninsula.

Beyond that, Dead Winter Carpenters want to get to work on its next record before long.

“We’re hoping to get back in the studio, the sooner the better,” Dunn said. “We’re tentatively planning on heading back in the fall.”

Clare Foster

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About Josh Sweigert

Josh grew up on the California coast with a deep appreciation for bluegrass and string band music as well as the great outdoors. A guitarist and singer, he plays solo acoustic gigs in South Lake Tahoe.

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