Saturday, November 23, 2019

Music Reviews: The Dead South

The Dead South is a Canadian band whose music can be described as a both satirical and earnest take on American/Canadian/British folk, bluegrass and blues with some 90s style alternative sounds added for seasoning. If you're someone who can enjoy both Mumford and Sons and Otis Taylor, you might be willing to explore The Dead South. I discovered the band by falling down a youtube rabbit hole that started with Otis Taylor, progressed thru Fairpoint Convention and ended with The Dead South. The band members dress like stereotypical American Southerners/Westerners circa 1935 or so. 

The song "In Hell I'll be in Good Company" is about a wife murderer about to be hanged, who is happy that when he gets to hell he'll see his unfaithful wife again. The song "Banjo Odyssey" attracted some controversy that the band addressed on their Facebook page. The band said the song is about a consensual albeit forbidden relationship. The doomed(?) lovers are trying to escape. That explanation may have been the writer's intention but I didn't get that impression at all.

I think that songwriters should be able to write about evil without automatically being accused of endorsing evil. Depiction isn't endorsement. Johnny Cash never shot a man in Reno just to watch him die. Ice Cube did not burn down any Korean owned businesses. Albert King didn't punch out his wife because she was cheating on him while claiming to be at the laundromat. And so on.

I like the harmonizing and multiple lead vocals, unusual instrumentation (replacing bass with cello, often eschewing full drum set) and oft sarcastic/warped lyrics. I appreciate that the lyrics are open to interpretation. See what you think.

In Hell I'll Be In Good Company

Dead love couldn't go no further
Proud of and disgusted by her
Push shove, a little bruised and battered
Oh Lord I ain't coming home with you

My life's a bit more colder
Dead wife is what I told her
Brass knife sinks into my shoulder
Oh babe don't know what I'm gonna do

I see my red head, messed bed, tear shed, queen bee
My squeeze
The stage it smells, tells, hell's bells, miss-spells
Knocks me on my knees
It didn't hurt, flirt, blood squirt, stuffed shirt
Hang me on a tree
After I count down, three rounds, in hell I'll be in good company

Repeat previous verses


Banjo Odyssey

Tore up the restraining order
I don't care I'm coming over
What your daddy said isn't going over too well
Don't you know not to kiss and tell

Mama said, she's my brothers daughter
And I don't even know who's my father
I guess she's my cousin
But she needs some sweet loving anyway

Pulled you out by your hair
If people ask I was never there
Come on baby and take a ride with me
Come on baby let's drive to the sea

It's a hot night driving down highway sixty
With my baby in the passenger seat
I roll down my window and I
Lean my head back and put my foot to the floor

We're going faster
And she's saying slow down (Slow down) (X4)

And I say no
And she's saying slow down (X3)

And she's screaming slow down
And I say no
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