woensdag 16 september 2015

Good Company. The Dead South

The past three, four years I've been waiting for a new album by The Hackensaw Boys, and still am, unfortunately. The Dead South had me fooled for a moment though. Listening to opening song 'Long Gone' I wondered for a few moments whether I held on to the new album anyway in a wrong sleeve. It isn't though. The Dead South has released its own form of blue grass rock with a load of melancholy undertones here and there.

The Dead South is a band from Canada. From the looks they are Larry and his Flask incarnated. (Where did that band go?) Long beards, wild-eyed and large hats. Legend has it that "Scott Pringle is more beard than man". For what that's worth, his harmonies and mandolin playing is all over this record. Together with Daniel Kenyon, cello, the dark underbelly of this band, Nathaniel Hilts vocals and tight strumming and Colton Crawford, banjo and kick drum, Pringle makes up The Dead South from Regina, Saskatchewan. Good Company is the band's first album after an EP in 2013 called 'The Ocean Went Mad and We Were to Blame'. Although Good Company was released in Canada in 2014, this September it is our turn.

There is a darkness all over 'Good Company'. Like Violent Femmes without the religious fervour if not madness at the time of 'Hallowed Ground'. At the same time the band can play a musical joke as well, in the ditty 'Manly Way' the mock female voice is (supposed to be) hilarious. The music total hillbilly style. More songs are very traditional in sound, where others are more towards rock unplugged, country style.

The Dead South does not reach that weak spot where especially David Sickmen's songs have found a home. For that most of the songs on Good Company are too direct. Like Larry and his Flask's are. Nate Hilts' voice matches Ian Cook's more that David Sickmen's. In the ballad 'Ballad For Janoski' there is no sweetness in Hilts' voice. The emotions are more in the lead guitar notes and the melancholy banjo that sounds as if it comes to us from a wind swept, desolate plain. The band touches the right moods here.

It is in 'Down That Road' that The Dead South comes closes to The Hackensaw Boys. The harmony part is 100% down. Ferd Moyse is there in spirit alright. Drs. P. is even in there. 'The Dead South' is reminiscent of 'De Dodenrit'. I never imagined mentioned the late Heinz Polzer on this blog, but here you go.

The Dead South recreates a form of music from long ago and adds its own flavour to it. Modern country, bluegrass, whatever you like to call it. Authentic music in sound, modern in approach and fused with a few sticks of dynamite which are defused just in time, each time. A nice balance was found, making Good Company a fine album. Live there without a doubt will be fire and brimstone involved, so a party guaranteed.


You can listen to 'Long Gone' here:


or buy on Bol.com

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