Dead Confederate marches on

Here’s all you need to know about Dead Confederate: their album, which will come out in early fall, will be what you will listen to for the rest of the year. Moody. Melodic. And, very soon, they will be mainstream.

“In June we go out with Drive-By Truckers on the West coast,” said vocalist and rhythm guitarist Hardy Morris. It’s an opportunity to build their already not-inconsequential fan base in advance of their as-yet-untitled new album with TAO Records/Razor & Tie Entertainment. “Hopefully when it does come out we’ll have the audience stirred up.”

That’s because they take the best of related genres, like psychedelic and noise rock, and blend it till the batter is smooth. They create an amalgamation of Southern rock storytelling and chord-heavy grunge, with a rainbow tossed in for good measure. In short, Dead Confederate creates a soundscape of its own that conjures both beauty and intensity.

My grandma used to say, “Everything tastes better on a biscuit.” Dead Confederate is the biscuit. Rock music is the gravy. Together, they’re a monster of a meal that fully satisfies and yet leaves you with a fond nostalgia. Like the best music, you’ll come back for more as soon as you have room in your redbelly.

“Over the past year, even bigger changes have come along,” Morris said, like working with their label, opening for R.E.M. at South by Southwest and then playing several more times throughout the festival’s run to rave reviews. They ended up on a lot of critics’ Top Ten lists.

Morris admits that it was huge for them, but that it’s just as important for bands to go out and gig until they gag.

“I think it’s really important for bands to go and play as many times as possible. If you’re really worth your salt, you should be willing to play,” he said.

It’s a grueling, uncertain way to make a living, and if they stop to question themselves, Morris said, musicians could realize what a foolish decision they make when joining a
working band.

“With almost any other profession, if you sacrifice that much, you’re going to be really successful,” Morris said. But playing independent original music forces musicians to sacrifice “100 percent of everything,” he said. “And most likely, you’re still going to fail.”

But the members of Dead Confederate have never stopped to question it. Not when they find themselves at yet another rehearsal, sleeping on yet another friend’s couch or broken down on the side of the road. They love each other’s playing and writing, and the music has become an extension of themselves.

“You can’t let it go and it damn sure isn’t letting go of you,” Morris said. “I mean, I don’t know what you can do about it… just keep playing.”

John Watkins plays piano and organ and contributes to vocals. Walker Howle brings in the whine on lead and slide guitar, Jason Scarboro hits it with his drum kit and Brantley Senn brings vocals and a thumping bass guitar. Dawson Morris, Hardy’s brother, manages the band.

Look for their EP in the fall.

Dead Confederate
The Soul Bar
Saturday, May 17
10 p.m.


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