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Dead Soldiers with special guest Kendra Swanson
August 16, 2017 @ 7:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Dead Soldiers is an American Roots Rock Band from Memphis, Tennessee. Much like The Band and Tom Waits, they draw deeply from influences ranging from Rock, Soul, Outlaw Country, and Bluegrass to Blues to carve out their own dark perspective on what it means to live and die in the American South. Songs about anxiety, poverty, politics, history and death, are lifted by three and four part vocal harmonies, and paired with detailed instrumentation to create a dynamic musical identity with an energy and irreverence that sets them apart from what the world has come to expect from today’s crop of soft-handed “Americana Artists.”
They are a group forged in a city that is synonymous with musical innovation. Profoundly affected by the legacy of studios like Sun and Stax, and the way Memphis had become a mixing pot for the wide ranging musical styles of the delta to collide and evolve, Dead Soldiers are more interested in building on this foundation than simply paying homage to it. They’re more interested in capturing the outlaw spirit of the collaborations that defied the social structures of the Jim Crow south and later the music establishment to make something new, rather than purely emulating the styles of the past.
The band began writing and performing in 2011 and consists of core members Michael Jasud (Lead Vocals/Guitar), Benjamin Aviotti (Vocals/Banjo/Guitar), Clay Qualls (Vocals/Bass/Mandolin), Krista Wroten-Combest (Vocals/Violin/Keys), Nathan Raab (Guitar/Mandolin/Bass/Keys), and Paul Gilliam (Drums), but employs an array of personnel from the Memphis music scene whenever there is space on the stage, most notably in the form of the themodern day Memphis Horns style attack of Nahshon Benford (Trumpet) and Victor Sawyer (Trombone). On both their full-length album (2013’s All The Things You Lose) and their EP (Last Year’s High Anxiety), they dig into the idiosyncratic essence of what Memphis music means today, releasing a raucous sound that wavers between dance and dirge.
Currently mid-stream on recording and releasing their second album with High Low’s exceptional production duo, Toby Vest and Pete Matthews, their second full-length album is scheduled for release early in 2016. Dead Soldiers can’t help but stay busy, always looking towards the road, the studio, and the stage.
“We love country, soul, rock ‘n’ roll, bluegrass, and blues, but the last thing I would do is try to fit into any one of those categories. We’re just trying to make music about ourselves and our city, and share it with the world.” Ben Aviotti (Charleston City Paper 08/2015)