By Tom Paillé
For the second time this year, the Dead South will bring their eclectic and electric bluegrass-tinged sounds to Vancouver. Unlike that memorable show at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, the band’s original line-up will reunite as Colton Crawford (banjo) rejoins founding member Nate Hilts (guitar, mandolin, lead vocals) and crew. Crawford is excited to get back to playing and writing and just hanging with the guys again after taking some time away from the road to sort out some insomnia-related issues.
“I went back to my teaching job and another passion, Brazilian Ju Jitsu, which really helped me. I’ve always loved the martial arts and how it centers me,” Crawford tells BeatRoute. But the lure of the music and the band proved too irresistible. He recently joined the band at the famed Muscle Shoals recording studio where the Dead South spent some time away from everything to just write and record.
“It’s something that is hard to do while out on tour with all the distractions and demands,” says Danny Kenyon (cello, vocals). Along with newly transplanted BC resident Scott Pringle (mandolin, guitar, vocals), the group is hoping to have some new music out soon. The touring has been extensive throughout Europe where they have a huge following, not to mention both sides of the 49th on this side of the pond.
Like many Canadian bands, inspiration comes from their surroundings.
“Just because we have a banjo doesn’t mean we play only bluegrass,” says lead vocalist Hilts. “We kind of take from styles we enjoy and what comes naturally and we just throw them in the mix and you could say it’s just a Canadian band, like a mosaic.”
The band takes their bluegrass foundation and mixes it with some Acadian, Celtic, punk, and country tones for a toe-tappin’, boot-stompin’ good time. Add in great harmonies and Hilts’ “whiskey-gravel with a hint of cat-mauling” vocals and you have a show you just can’t miss. Check their video for the track “In Hell I’ll Be in Good Company” and you’ll be hooked!
The Dead South perform at the Commodore Ballroom on October 4.