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Bright Lights

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Album Review

For singer/songwriter/guitarist Dave Simonett of the progressive bluegrass band Trampled by Turtles, Dead Man Winter has been described as his rock & roll side project (on the official TbT website), but both parts of that description may be dubious. First, the music on Dead Man Winter's debut album Bright Lights isn't mostly rock & roll. True, "Get Low," "Cry for Help," and "Industrial Daybreak" all answer to that description, with their rock rhythms and electric guitar riffs. But much of the album is folk-rock at best, or even country-pop. Still, it can be said that the sensibility Simonett exhibits in his sly songwriting and strained tenor singing is rock-oriented, and when he does rev things up, as on "Get Low," he suggests Neil Young with Crazy Horse. The rest of the time, he suggests Young in one of his more folkie or country moods. Whatever the style, however, the music and the band playing it are distinctive enough that the "side project" tag seems inappropriate. TbT is just coming into its own with chart albums like Duluth and Palomino. But Bright Lights demonstrates that Simonett needs to split his time between them rather than relegating Dead Man Winter to secondary status.


Genre: Rock

Years Active:

Playing a full-bodied, emotionally resonant brand of Americana-infused indie rock, Dead Man Winter is a group led by Dave Simonett, best known as one of the founding members of the progressive bluegrass group Trampled by Turtles. Formed in Duluth, Minnesota in 2003, Trampled by Turtles began as a side project for Simonett and his bandmates. So when Simonett started working up songs that demanded a more muscular attack than TbT would ordinarily deliver, it came as no surprise that he started another...
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Bright Lights, Dead Man Winter
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