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Dead Man Winter Furnace

Dead Man Winter — Furnace (January 27th, 2017)

     Dead Man Winter — Furnace (January 27th, 2017)
■   “Destroyer is about… well… destroying,” says Simonett. “I wrote it while confronting the feeling that every time I get some stability in my life, career, relationship, artistic, my tendency is to fully tear it apart. I should really stop doing that. Sometimes it honestly feels like I’m allergic to happiness. Or maybe chaos is where I am ultimately most comfortable. Though, to be honest, I’d hesitate to ever call myself comfortable. Life’s a funny little devil, ain’t it?”
■   “I’m not even that big of a fan of breakup records, myself,” he says. “I mean, there’s some I really love. Like Blood on the Tracks, fuck, I love it. But it was just kind of a necessary — that’s the only way I know how to let it out. It would have been pretty hard to write about anything else at the time.” There is palpable sadness and moments of poignant reflection, to be sure, but Furnace also propels Simonett forward with an undeniable sense of newfound freedom. At some points, like on the upbeat third track, “Red Wing Blue Wing,” you could describe the music as downright rollicking.
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Album release: January 27th, 2017
Record Label: GNDWIRE/Thirty Tigers
Recorded: Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls
Duration:     40:44
Tracks:
01 This House Is On Fire     4:00
02 Destroyer     3:05
03 Red Wing Blue Wing     4:12
04 I Remember This Place Being Bigger     3:37
05 The Same Town     3:14
06 Cardinal     3:33
07 Am I Breaking Down     3:04
08 Danger     4:40
09 Weight of the World     3:50
10 You Are Out of Control     7:29
Musicians:
■   Dave Simonett
■   Bryan Nichols,
■   Erik Koskinen, and
■   JT Bates
About:
■   Furnace marks a whole lot of firsts for the accomplished songwriter. It’s his first time putting his long~running, popular string band, Trampled by Turtles, on hiatus to focus all of his efforts on a more personal project. It’s his first time speaking so plainly and literally about something happening in his private life. And it’s his first time dedicating an entire record to a single topic — a topic so significant and intimate that he questioned whether or not he should even release it into the world.
■   “I’m not even that big of a fan of breakup records, myself,” he says. “I mean, there’s some I really love. Like Blood on the Tracks, fuck, I love it. But it was just kind of a necessary — that’s the only way I know how to let it out. It would have been pretty hard to write about anything else at the time.” There is palpable sadness and moments of poignant reflection, to be sure, but Furnace also propels Simonett forward with an undeniable sense of newfound freedom. At some points, like on the upbeat third track, “Red Wing Blue Wing,” you could describe the music as downright rollicking.
■   Like many of his contemporary songwriting peers, Simonett turned to his art to process the feelings that were swirling inside of him. “Right when we split up I went on this huge creative tear, and wrote a bunch,” he remembers. “And then as everything kind of settled in and the process started moving, life got really complicated, and it shut down for a long time. So I did something I’ve never done before: I went on a writing retreat. In the middle of winter, last winter, I went to this cabin in Finland, Minnesota, just like me in this little cabin for the week, with snow up to the windows and 20 below the whole time, and just wrote. And when I got to that place, I couldn’t stop it.”
■   Ultimately, Simonett found the relief he was hoping for when it came time to make the record. Unsatisfied with the piecemeal approach that he used to cobble together the first draft of the album, Simonett rounded up his longtime friends from the Minneapolis roots rock scene — drummer JT Bates, guitarist Erik Koskinen, bassist Tim Saxhaug (also of Trampled by Turtles), and pianist Bryan Nichols — to record the album live to tape. The five of them holed up in the historic Pachyderm Studio in Cannon Falls, Minn., a ski chalet~like studio nestled deep in the woods where legendary albums like Nirvana’s In Utero were recorded.
■   “Making the album was this one great week — we just shut ourselves off in Pachyderm. We lived down there for the time. I don’t think I checked my email for like five days, it was awesome,” he says. “The vibe was just to make it feel like we’re playing in a room together. That can be a really joyful way to record. And then I had to go back to my lawyer’s office, you know? So I really treasure that.”
Review
DEAD MAN WINTER TO RELEASE LONG AWAITED SOPHOMORE LP ‘FURNACE’
■   Furnace, the sophomore album from Dead Man Winter, is set for release on January 27 on GNDWIRE/Thirty Tigers. Furnace is a highly revealing and deeply personal offering from accomplished singer and songwriter Dave Simonett, who performs under the pseudonym Dead Man Winter.
■   Widely known as the lead vocalist and songwriter for the acclaimed band Trampled By Turtles, Simonett has touched legions of fans with his thoughtful lyrics and warm tenor. However, the Minnesota native had some recent life~altering experiences to contend with and realized that he had to utilize a completely different vessel to do so. After 14 years of leading the successful progressive bluegrass outfit, Simonett chose to put the band on hold, and for the first time, dedicate an entire album to one topic.
■   The 10 songs that comprise Furnace reflect a man coming to terms with a painful divorce and the heartbreaking separation from his two children. While Simonett did not initially set out to chronicle these experiences, the process proved to be cathartic and highly therapeutic. The songwriter spent time in a cabin during the 20~below Minnesota winter and just wrote. The pent up emotions poured out of him and into songs such as the haunting “This House Is On Fire”, the reflective Byrds~styled “Destroyer” and the rollicking confessional “Am I Breaking Down”, to name a few.
■   While the songs on Furnace are deep, introspective and at times, venomous, this is not at all a morose sounding album. Simonett recorded with longtime friends from the Minneapolis rock scene — drummer JT Bates, guitarist Erik Koskinen, bassist Tim Saxhaug, and keyboardist Bryan Nichols. The album was recorded live to tape at the historic Pachyderm Studio in Cannon Falls, MN, where Nirvana’s In Utero was recorded.
■   However difficult or joyous they are, our experiences shape who we are. At times these experiences can create an internal roadblock that we too often retreat from when we really need to push through. Furnace documents an artist who has burst through these emotional barricades, and the timing could not be more right.
■   http://www.glidemagazine.com/
Biography
■   On a bleak, cold, frighteningly typical winter night in 2002, the last band I was in before Trampled by Turtles played our final show in a modified pizza restaurant~turned~venue in Duluth, Minnesota. The show ended, our band ended, glasses clinked cheers. We had plenty of help loading out our gear that night. So much, in fact, that someone walked away with my electric guitar and amp. They walked right passed the car where it was supposed to end up and went off into the frozen night, putting a giant period on the end of a what had been a short, struggling, but very necessary musical time for me.
■   I was now fully unemployed and sleeping indoors only by the good graces of friends willing to share a couch, and the loss of my instruments was more than a little devastating. Of the few possessions I still had, the one that now gained top billing was a cheap acoustic guitar collecting dust in a small room on Duluth’s central hillside. A few other musicians in town had similar instruments collecting a similar dust and we started what was our first acoustic band, Trampled by Turtles.
■   We’ve been able to stay together ever since and had some good fortune that escapes many more deserving and talented bands. Lately, though, the drums and amps ringing in the back of my head have been getting louder and the desire to play, write, and record in a way removed from what I’ve been up to has been getting stronger. Dead Man Winter was born out of these things.
■   I’d been renting a studio in Minneapolis, and with the help of some amazing people I set to the task of making a record. My partner in the dirty and thankless work of recording was local engineer, songwriter, producer, guitarslinger, and master of the vibe Erik Koskinen. We spent countless blissful hours exploring guitars, amps, mics, and players in the worn~in beauty and sanctity of Realphonic Studios. Without a doubt, countless more hours could have been spent but you can’t begin work on the next record until you put out the current one, so here it is.
■   The musicians that play on this album are dear friends — there’s not a one of whom would I’d hesitate to trust a song that I hold dear. In the end, the whole experience has reconnected me to that couch~surfing kid in Duluth trying to figure out what to do next in this big, terrifying, wonderful world and now, with a few more years behind me, it’s refreshing.   — Dave Simonett, 2011
Website: https://www.deadmanwinter.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/deadmanwinter
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/deadmanwinter
Tumblr: https://www.deadmanwinter.com/
1st Avenue: http://first-avenue.com/performer/dead-man-winter
ALEYS MEDIA: http://alleyesmedia.com/clients/dead-man-winter/
Label: https://www.gndwire.com/
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Dead Man Winter Furnace

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