Dead Man Winter – Bright Lights


Dead Man Winter – Bright Lights
Banjodad Records
August 16, 2011

What It Sounds Like:  Alt-country with a swampy rock vibe complete with twangy guitars and fiddles.

Let go of me darling / Before you kill me
I’m hollow and holy / Just like a man
And you never know me / The way I know sorrow
And crying helps nothing / But it’s all I got left

So begins A Long Cold Night In Minneapolis, a brokenhearted ballad near the front of this completely enjoyable disc from Dave Simonett, the frontman of Trampled By Turtles.  I’ve always heard good things about his band, but simply have never checked them out.  This record indicates I may or may not be missing something, because I have a feeling that he lets loose and rocks out a little bit more than normal with his Dead Man Winter side-project, which is what I would gravitate towards more.  That, in essence, is what makes this record such a fun listen.  It’s completely diverse.  Right on the heels of the aforementioned ballad, we find Get Low, a southern rocking jam that plugs in the electrics, demands the beers be raised, and loosely guides the crowd along in a perfect sing-along (regardless of how many of the beers you may or may not have had).  More diversity?  Go another track further to find Golden, a complete old-school, mid-tempo country number (fiddle and all) that your grandma and grandpa in rural Mississippi could overly appreciate if they heard it playing on a little stage while walking through the local county fair looking for the best price on french fries.

Sure, some of the later tracks could be forgotten easier than some of the earlier ones.  The final trio of New OrleansIndustrial Daybreak, and Bright Lights are the weakest things we find here, but even at Dead Man Winter worst- it’s really not that bad.

Now, certainly don’t be scared of the word “country” if you’re not a country music fan, because I’m not really one.  This falls into the category of “southern” much more, and it’s easier to be enjoyed – the solos and the toned down numbers even each other out, so it’s a well collected mix.  It doesn’t force itself upon you with overly-hyped tales of pickup trucks, drunken nights, and the like.  There’s undeniable quality here.


If you had to listen to two tracks:  Nicotine / A Long Cold Night In Minneapolis 


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