Tahoe-based Dead Winter Carpenters brought their high-elevation energy to Shine Restaurant & Gathering Place Thursday night, laying down a ferocious blend of alternative bluegrass melodies. Fiddler and vocalist Jenni Charles’s fast and friendly licks filled the showroom, managing to crank up the intensity for an evening of boisterous country twang.
“We’ve played at the Mountain Sun and Southern Sun… and we always have a great time,” Charles said. “We have a ton of people come out and there’s great energy, and people rage it every single time. We have a lot of dancers and it’s super fun.”
The group’s defining sound of Tahoe mountain jam has kept them on the road consistently for the last couple of years with no end in sight. Coming out of North Lake Tahoe, Calif., the quintet formed in 2010 and has put out two albums, with “ain’t it strange” released most recently in May. Featuring charismatic road odes and country tales, the album packs a punch. Its shuffling pace, kicking off with “Find Your Home,” highlights Dead Winter Carpenters’s roots with mellow duets by Jesse Dunn and Charles, and soulful solos by Charles on fiddle and lead guitarist Sean Duerr’s jiving blues licks.
The rest of the album winds up and down with legend-like tunes such as “How to Make a Living 101,” the band’s clear gem. Upright-bassist and vocalist Dave Lockhart’s riveting lines shuffle the rhythm while holding down the fort for the band. Spotlighting Charles’s country-girl singing and menacing woodwind echoes, the frontwoman brings a saucy flare that has undoubtedly aided in their success.
Much like their album, the band’s performance Thursday night spoke for itself. The quintet layered galloping rock-ballads with John Denver-esque storytelling, playing to their Boulder friends in attendance.
“All of our friends that come and see us a lot, we’ve met through music,” Charles said. “They all come here so it at least brings in more people and they can experience the food and the beer and the venue as a whole, and it’s cool. It [Shine] is truly a gathering space, you know? I like it a lot.”
Shine has been one of the premier venues for checking out fantastic local and touring bands because of their consistency in sound techs and their capacious venue room. However, the dim lighting situation leaves something to be desired; it blurred eye focus during the Dead Winter Carpenters performance.
The band skillfully avoided harsh speaker-lash during a few sound bumps with their patience and experience from the road. Nonetheless, Dead Winter Carpenters showed up ready to put it all out on the table. Welcoming to the stage Boulder-based mandolin shredder Nick Dunbar from the band Mountain Standard Time, the group inventively charmed the crowd’s rowdier side with fast-paced stringing and solos.
The pairing was a test-run for upcoming shows. Mountain Standard Time puts on a festival, Mardi Gras, every February, showcasing local and touring bluegrass bands, which the Dead Winter Carpenters will be joining this year.
“They do three nights in Fort Collins, Boulder, and Denver and we are going to do those nights with them,” Dunn said of the band’s upcoming accompaniment with Mountain Standard Time.
The details have not been announced, but stay tuned for more on its conception, which is sure to pump out worthwhile performances by the Dead Winter Carpenters, Mountain Standard Time and their selected lineup.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Kyle Ward at Kyle.firstname.lastname@example.org.