Singer and songwriter Dave Simonett will be shifting musical gears when his band Dead Man Winter arrives in Rochester to perform as part of the Americana Showcase performance series on Wednesday, Nov 18 at 7:30 p.m. at Rochester Civic Theatre.
Opening the show will be Brandon Sampson, Barry Nelson and John Wheeler of Six Mile Grove. The bandmates have indicated they plan to do something new and experimental during the opening, but aren’t revealing it until the night of the performance.
For the past two weeks, Simonett and his Duluth-based band Trampled by Turtles have been touring the West Coast, so Wednesday’s performance will represent a musical change of pace for the talented lead singer and guitarist.
Dead Man Winter has been a side-project of Simonette’s, a departure from the foot-stomping, frenetic style of bluegrass music that has become Trampled by Turtles’ trademark.
Dead Man Winter’s lyrics, all written by Simonett, show the songwriter’s mellower side, more introspective and mournful. One writer described those lyrics as being evocative of the “bleak and harsh” frozen landscape that “only Minnesotans can love.” The name of the band does that pretty well, too.
“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,” Simonett said once in explaining Dead Man Winter’s genesis.
While different, Dead Man’s sound is often viewed as complementary to TBT. It includes fellow Turtles fiddler Ryan Young and bassist-vocalist Tim Saxhaug. Other non-TBT members include guitarist Erik Koskinen, a previous performer at Americana Showcase events, and drummer Noah Levy.
In a previous interview, Simonett acknowledged that the themes running through the Dead Man’s songs of winter and cold are rooted in where he was raised and lived.
“You can’t really escape where you’re from — particularly (being) from Duluth, where it’s even darker and colder,” Simonett said. “A lot of that same current runs through a lot of the bands up there, and I think it’s just part of our character.”
Wednesday’s performance marks the midway point of Americana Showcase’s fall season. Two more performances are planned: Trailer Trash on Dec. 9 and Six Mile Grove and American Scarecrows on Dec. 16.
The Rochester Civc Theatre’s lobby bar opens at 6:30 p.m.; the showcase starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $19 in advance and $24 at the door. All ages are welcome.