Meet The Dead South
They wear white shirts and black suspenders, black pants and travellers’ hats. They sing about murderous, estranged spouses and runaway lover cousins in a boot-stomping acoustic configuration that includes banjo, mandolin, cello and guitar, some whistles, hoots and hollerin’, and finger snappin’. Sometimes their fans dress up like them too and dance and sing the night away – but that’s not mandatory.
Nate Hilts (lead vocals, guitar, left), Scott Pringle (mandolin, vocals),
Eliza Doyle (banjo, left), and Danny Kenyon (cello)
The Dead South are fun, modern hillbillies from Regina, Saskatchewan (that’s in Canada btw), who can make you forget your troubles and even what century you’re in.
But the band isn’t just about style and good looks. Their full-length album, Good Company (released on Curve/eOne), is full of rousing bluegrass kickers that challenge you not to smile or do a little jig, or, heck, even head-bang. They’ve played them all over Europe and the U.K. multiple times, as well as Canada and into the U.S., enthralling fans who just can’t get enough.
Co-produced by Orion Paradis (Rah Rah, Library Voices), Good Company includes songs about such timeless subjects as lovin’, cheatin’, killin’ and
The idea for a rockin’ stompin’ bluegrass band came to Nate and Danny 2012; they had played together before back in high school in a short-lived alternative grunge band. Nate had been listening to Trampled By Turtles, Old Crow Medicine Show, and older bluegrass acts and the two wanted to put their own spin on tradition. This also marked Nate’s very first go at singing. They wrote some originals and tested them out at open mics.
Shortly after, Colton, who was into metal, and Scott, more in the singer-songwriter vein, added more bodies to The Dead South. Colton learned banjo and Scott switched from guitar to mandolin. The result was their own unique take on the Bluegrass genre, as none of them actually had any clue what they were doing. But they knew they wanted it to be fun, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, with serious musicianship.
After releasing The Ocean Went Mad and We Were To Blame, they plowed ahead with a full album, Good Company, and signed a record deal with Joerg Tresp of Devil Duck Records in Hamburg, Germany after showcasing at 2014 Canadian Music Week in Toronto.
The Devil Duck deal allowed The Dead South to head overseas to tour a couple of times each year. But now they have a Canadian manager and label after Brian Hetherman of Curve Music in Toronto flew all the way to Germany to catch the band on its first European tour. A showcase at BreakOut West in Winnipeg in 2015 landed the band a booking agent at Paquin. Now with their team in place, Good Company is getting remastered with a bonus track and will be distributed by eOne.
It seems that everywhere The Dead South plays, their good company expands.