Dead Man Winter
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Dead Man Winter Biography

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.”

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