I bought this guy last year and the winter took a beating on him.Do you think I should cut off the dead growth on the top and see if it produces a new leader?
Help with spruce
I would say that your little friend there has some disease or pest attacking it. When I saw the needle drop in the back it looks more than just winter damage. Plus there really shouldn't be any winter damage on that anyway given that you are in a sultry 4a and that guy should weather to 3a.
My advise would be to take a cutting to a local nursery to see if they can figure out what's going on and possibly treat it.