Carter Family meets Addams Family in Easy Listening for Jerks, two new covers EPs by gold-certified prairie pickers The Dead South. The source material for the EP two-pack sees The Dead South trace very different musical lineages: one a beloved folk songbook and the other a set of volatile modern outsider anthems. Always playing against type, The Dead South flip traditional bluegrass and hard rock conventions upside down, drawing out an ominous, lurking unease in the bright innocence of Bristol Sessions-era sound, and pulling moments of absurdity and hilarity out from the hardcore bluster. Part I includes the Sun belt-meets-black belt take on "You Are My Sunshine," in which The Dead South dig below the surface layer lullaby to levels of deep desperation, a mood well suited to the prospector's baritone of Nate Hilts. In a minor key, "Keep On The Sunny Side," changes from sweet to sinister. "Matterhorn," a gallant adventure tale that sees four friends set off to climb a mountain, also works on the level of The Dead South's origin story. "It's closer here to heaven than it is back to the ground," goes the song, now also a fitting encapsulation of the band's feelings of anxiety and exhilaration about returning to life on the road.
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