With a banjo, mandolin, cello, and guitar, The Dead South certainly looks like bluegrass traditionalists. As outsiders to the bluegrass world by circumstances of geography, they’re from the Canadian prairies, and by influences, equal parts finger-picking and punk, there are few comparisons to be made for the four-piece acoustic band. With a global following sparked by YouTube, early success in German rock clubs, and now sold-out shows at iconic venues on many continents, this is no country for old-time string purists.
First and foremost, a brotherhood formed in university and forged on the road, The Dead South is quite comfortable with the role as a total anomaly almost everywhere it goes. Their progressive, tightly-constructed approach to acoustic music that favors intricate solos and harmonies has brought two JUNO Awards for Traditional Album of the Year, the most recent for the Muscle Shoals-made Sugar & Joy (2019). The Dead South followed up in 2020 with Served Live, a double live album that supported the live music industry in a crisis.
With their newly released double EPs Easy Listening for Jerks, Parts I & II, The Dead South finds their balance between their punk origins and the bluegrass world of their sound. A strong statement about identity, influence, and inspiration, and the new EPs show a band stepping out into new musical territory while staying true to themselves.