The Dead South
The Dead South have been described as outlaws, modern hillbillies and Mumford and Sons’ evil twins, but the best way to describe the Regina, Saskatchewan -based band is fearless. They’re a rare musical commodity – a band that’s equally compelling on record as they are on stage.
While The Dead South’s signature blend of bluegrass and classic folk is familiar, it’s also eminently fresh; fueled by the kind of energy and ethic you’d associate with a punk band. “A lot of our inspiration comes from an old school feel, but our sound is an amalgamation of the we all like, and the punk influence is definitely there,” says vocalist/guitarist Nate Hilts.
Since the release of their second record, Illusion & Doubt (Curve Music/Entertainment One), in late 2016, The Dead South have proven themselves a force to be reckoned with on both sides of the 49th parallel.
Illusion & Doubt recently hit Top 5 on the US Billboard Bluegrass chart and entered the top 30 on the US Country iTunes Chart. That’s fueled interest in the band’s debut, Good Company, as well, which, though released in 2015, recently hit the Top 50 On Billboard and the Top 20 on US iTunes overall chart.
The boost to both albums, Hilts believes, is partially due to the band’s video for ‘In Hell I’ll Be In Good Company,’ which was released in early 2016. “We were late to the game getting videos out for Good Company in general and after we did the ‘In Hell’ video in 2016 we concentrated on releasing Illusion & Doubt and put the video on the back burner. But, a few months after we released it, there was just this huge… BOOM.”
Boom is a good way to put it. Currently ‘In Hell I’ll Be In Good Company’ has over 32 Million views on YouTube and is at 1,000,000 views weekly.
Since signing their first record deal with Germany’s Devil Duck Records in 2014, “Touring is pretty much all we’ve been doing,” Hilts says. The chops they’ve developed on tour come across loud and clear on Illusion & Doubt, displaying a no holds barred ethic that blurs musical genres and transcends time – not only because their singular brand of punk tinged, vintage folk can’t be pinned down to any specific era, but because Illusion & Doubt recalls a time when fans listened to records top to bottom, over and again.
Few bands set themselves apart the way The Dead South do, musically and in terms of personality; from their recordings through their rip it up live shows to their distinctive hillbilly cum pioneer look; a dress code, Hilts says, “that’s become a staple of who we are.”