116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Timing is everything in music. Just before the pandemic altered life, the members of The Dead South decided to release a double live album, "Served Live."
"It was weird how that timed out for us," vocalist-guitarist-mandolinist Nate Hilts said while calling from his home in Regina, Saskatchewan. "We always wanted to put out a live album. We always felt that was where our energy is. We listened to every show on our ‘Served Cold’ tour (from 2019) and came up with the album."
"Served Live" was released in January 2021, when concerts were on ice.
"It was weird going 18 months without a single show," Hilts said. "So we put out a live album and worked on other material. It's been frustrating for us, like everybody else. We got some momentum rolling and the pandemic strikes."
What: The Dead South
Where: Englert Theatre, 221 E. Washington St., Iowa City
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 19, and Friday, Jan. 21, 2022
Tickets: $33 to $59, englert.org
Band’s website: thedeadsouth.com/
Again, timing is everything. The band's third album, "Sugar & Joy," was released during October 2019 and hit the top of the Bluegrass charts.
"That was difficult to deal with but it was out of our control," Hilts said. "We're kind of still on that tour."
The Dead South will deliver tracks from "Sugar & Joy" on Wednesday and Jan. 21 at the Englert Theatre in Iowa City, and it will preview material from its forthcoming EPs, "Easy Listening for Jerks Parts 1 and 2," which will see the light of day in March. There are some inventive covers of traditional tunes, such as "You are my Sunshine" and classic rock tracks like The Doors’ '"People are Strange."
"We recorded some timeless songs," Hilts said. "These are songs that will never not have a place in the world of music."
The Dead South — which also includes guitarist-mandolinist-vocalist Scott Pringle, cellist-vocalist Danny Canyon and banjo player Colton Crawford — is giving back. The band established a Music Venue Bingo fundraiser in 2021 to help concert halls stay afloat.
"It's designed to help the live music industry in North America and the U.K. stay afloat," he said. "The concept came from our management team and it's worked out well — 100 percent of the proceeds goes to some great organizations. Recording artists need venues, so we're thrilled to help out."
No other group sounds quite like The Dead South. Perhaps that has something to do with remote Regina, which is relatively isolated in the Canadian hinterland.
"Our part of Canada is massive," Hilts said. "You look at the land mass — it's huge but the population is kind of small. Here in Regina there are about 250,000 people and we're all about an hour or two from another city. So we do our own thing."
After the group tours behind its EPs, who knows what will be next for Dead South?
"Maybe we'll do a metal EP," Hilts said with a laugh. "We have no idea what is up next, but we do know that we will continue to challenge ourselves."