Label: Banjodad Records
TL;DR: Dance around the campfire 7/10
Dead Man Winter is the country-style side project of Minnesota Bluegrass band, Trampled By Turtles. The majority of the band, Dave Simonett, Ryan Young and Tim Saxhaug are joined by drummer Noah Levy and blues guitarist Erik Koskinen to produce a set of tracks which display any manner of etiquette around the campfire, from dancing like silly boys and girls to huddling up together in one blanket waiting for marshmallows to roast.
Bright Lights is the side project’s debut and is the means for the band to escape into a world where electric and acoustic guitars alike lay around the fire with amps stood up about the place. A deep, secluded place where the band can not be disturbed and just play some rockin’ tunes, which is certainly the end result of this album.
The album begins with single Nicotine, a track featuring some soft and catchy acoustic guitar with the occasional blues lick thrown in. It mixed with the group vocals create a lovely atmosphere that’s thick with happy thoughts and you can’t help but be happy by it. It’s a strong beginning to people who are fans of Trampled By Turtles, or have simply stumbled across this album on Spotify.
Infact, the majority of the tracks featured has a certain warmth to them which make it impossible to skip. The songwriting talents of Simonett have to be commended here, everything feels so natural and extremely relaxed, which makes the record much better than The Decemberists’ The King Is Dead.
The record bares a great mix of acoustic and electric rock n roll, one track in particular that strikes me is Get Low, the first track to feature the electric as the main instrument, and the riff it plays bares such a strong force and sounds so good with the following instruments that it makes for a fantastic rock n roll song. One that could have been played in Back To The Future or Pulp Fiction.
Where in the World Have You Been? And Bright Lights are the two tracks which change the mood of the album, offering a much mellower and sadder approach to country blues. These are certainly heart wrenching and it brings a sense of wonderment to the record as to what made them suddenly change their tone after a long set of upbeat songs. This is definitely a great album to sit and relax to, or to dance along merrily to.