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Dead Winter Carpenters - Sometimes You Just Gotta Ask

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We had a short list of goals leading up to our sophomore video shoot for Dark Horse After Hours.  We wanted a really great local band. We needed a band with a good social media presence to help shoot our work out to space.

We needed the band to be flexible and trusting. This helped us whittle the list down from a handful of bands to one band.

Dead Winter Carpenters was the obvious choice.

DWC is one of those very few seminal Tahoe bands that has flown the coop. We don’t get to see them too often anymore. It seems like they are usually off in some other part of the country, bounding from town to town, lighting up local honky tonks, juke joints, famous clubs, and festival stages.  But they have to come home at some point. Their latest LP,Washoe, had just dropped a month earlier. So we thought we might have a shot. And sometimes you just gotta ask.

Todd and I have shared a stage or two with some of the band members at various jams, and we’ve hung out at shows (Deer Tick at the Knit being my fave). So Todd put in the call and connected with singer Jesse Dunn. We were in luck. This band is filled with a bunch of fun loving people, so of course they wanted to come by and shoot a video! And it just so happened that they had a Thursday show booked at Moe’s Original BBQ in Tahoe City to kick off Winter Wondergrass, a Saturday show booked at Olympic Valley Lodge supporting Leftover Salmon, but didn’t have anything booked on Friday. The whole band would be in town, so we set the date.


Shooting day arrived, Dark Horse closed at its usual hour, and the DWC tour van came ambling down the old alleyway behind the shop. Doors opened, out spilled Jesse, Jenni, Dave, Bryan and Brian. Introductions were made, locations were discussed, and we proceeded to trip over each other for an hour setting everything up. We scored some nice lighting from Evant Productions to mood-up the room a bit. Evan brought in the SBSMH team, kitted with their Transformer-looking camera rigs, to provide enhanced shooting angles, transporting you right in the action. Tahoe Truckee Community Television provided further lighting and sound support. Someone from Moonshine Ink was going to come, but didn’t make it until moments after we finished the shoot. Scott Thompson was on hand to capture stills. Finally, we were set up and ready to go.

There had been discussion about what song or songs to do. My vote was for “Midnight Ghost”.  Man, that song!  Glide Magazine started streaming “Midnight Ghost” about a week before the album was released and I got hooked. I pretty much listened to it all day. I pre-ordered the album; I was going to buy it anyway, but I made sure to pre-order it because I kind of felt guilty for streaming that song for free so many times. That swampy opening guitar riff that Jesse plays. Dave’s greasy opening bass slide. Bryan’s haunting slide guitar. The groove. And the harmonies! That song is one of those things that, to me, seems impossible not to have ever existed before it did. I can no longer imagine a world where there is no “Midnight Ghost” by Dead Winter Carpenters.  So I was a little outside of my body when it was announced they’d be performing that song.


The shoot went great; all aspects of the production took several steps forward. The band was gracious with their time, the crew was on point, the energy was high, and the vibe was positive.  I want to again thank Dead Winter Carpenters, Evan Buzzell, Drew Taylor, Todd Wees, Scott Thompson, and Daniel Danzberger for all of their hard work and dedication. I will never forget this experience.

This is a wild ride we’re on.

Morgan Hargrave

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