March 28, 2017 at Slim’s in San Francisco.
Widely known as the lead vocalist and songwriter for the acclaimed band Trampled By Turtles, Simonett has touched legions of fans with his thoughtful lyrics and warm tenor. However, the Minnesota native had some recent life-altering experiences to contend with and realized that he had to utilize a completely different vessel to do so. After 14 years of leading the successful progressive bluegrass outfit, Simonett chose to put the band on hold, and for the first time, dedicate an entire album to one topic.
The 10 songs that comprise Furnace reflect a man coming to terms with a painful divorce and the heartbreaking separation from his two children. While Simonett did not initially set out to chronicle these experiences, the process proved to be cathartic and highly therapeutic. The songwriter spent time in a cabin during the 20-below Minnesota winter and just wrote. The pent up emotions poured out of him and into songs such as the haunting “This House Is On Fire”, the reflective Byrds-styled “Destroyer” and the rollicking confessional “Am I Breaking Down”, to name a few.
While the songs on Furnace are deep, introspective and at times, venomous, this is not at all a morose sounding album. Simonett recorded with longtime friends from the Minneapolis rock scene — drummer JT Bates, guitarist Erik Koskinen, bassist Tim Saxhaug, and keyboardist Bryan Nichols. The album was recorded live to tape at the historic Pachyderm Studio in Cannon Falls, MN, where Nirvana’s In Utero was recorded.
However difficult or joyous they are, our experiences shape who we are. At times these experiences can create an internal roadblock that we too often retreat from when we really need to push through. Furnace documents an artist who has burst through these emotional barricades, and the timing could not be more right.