The Dead South – Chains & Stakes

The Dead South - Chains & Stakes



4.6/5 Pros

  • Great, characteristic The Dead South album
  • Nice range of songs
  • Great storytelling

Is this really the first time I am sharing my thoughts about a The Dead South release with you? I just could not believe that when I checked my album review list before I wrote the review to Chains & Stakes. The album has been released on 9th February 2024. I was lucky being able to have a listen beforehand. Here is my review.


The Dead South – About The Artists

The Dead South have been founded in Regina, Saskatchewan, in 2012. The Canadian band does a mixture of rock, folk and bluegrass. All four founding members are currently part of the band. However, two of them had a hiatus from The Dead South in the meantime. Nate Hilts is not only the lead singer, but also plays the guitar and mandolin. These are the key instruments of Scott Pringle as well, while Colton Crawford plays the banjo and Danny Kenyon the cello. So far, The Dead South released three albums and for EPs. Their last album, the 2019 Sugar & Joy, was the band’s first one to top the US Bluegrass charts. Despite the genre being not that popular typically in Europe, the two-time Juno Award winners have a rather major fanbase East of the Atlantic Ocean as well.


The Dead South – Chains & Stakes – Track by Track

The thirteen track album lasts 39 minutes.

1. Blood On The Mind

The first 30 seconds of Blood On The Mind feel rather slow and even a bit a of lame. However, right thereafter, the Canadians significantly speed up the listening experience. Colton Crawford proofs quick hands and fingers on the banjo and the song more and more becomes a happy ditty.

2. Yours To Keep

You won’t make it. Take it
You cannot sleep
Living day to day, it shakes you – they struck you deep
You’re a blatant stranger changer until you’re decеased
This is yours now, your pain to keep

The second song comes with a significantly less happy sound than the opener. The song with a dramatic touch, however, comes with a groovy touch – even though there is no intense bass in the song. Nate Hilts impresses on the microphone in this song, why the banjo is taking the role of the most present instrument.

3. 20 Mile Jump

After this emotional slowdown, 20 Mile Jump is a typical happy vibe bluegrass song. Guitar and banjo players collaborate perfectly in here to give the a cheeky touch. I love listening to this song, even though it just less than 90 seconds long.

4. Where Has The Time Gone

Where Has The Time Gone is another short one. This time, the acoustic guitar is in focus of this instrumental track, which is just less than 1:40 minutes. Beautiful song.

5. A Little Devil

After these two rather short episode, the almost four minutes A Little Devil is a “full” duration experience again. You feel the bluegrass basis in here, but the country and folk elements add a lovely value to the listen. With some rhythmic breaks, the song also presents a really nice plot.

6. Son of Ambrose

Son of Ambrose is one of my favorites regarding the storytelling and the way The Dead South are setting up their songs. It is simply fun to listen to the guys, the bluegrass vibes lead to a happy mood. The way the split the song into different sections makes it feel like a small musical audio-book.

7. Clemency

This one is another short track, in which the cello is spreading a calm and warm atmosphere. These tracks remind me of the Nacht der Gitarren shows I attended last night. Love instrumental again.

8. Completely, Sweetly

Especially at its beginning, the eighth song has a bit of a darker touch. But the longer it lasts, the more energizing it becomes. There are some really nice and catching banjo lines in there.

9. A Place I Hardly Know

Even though there is that characteristic bluegrass tootling in the background, A Place I Hardly Know feels like a beautiful and atmospheric slow country song. The cello adds a special touch. Finally, The Dead South and their unique setup create a lovely characteristic sound.

10. The Cured Contessa

Just a bit longer than two minutes, this is another “start slow and have fun soon thereafter” track. These short episodes add a lot of ease to the album as a whole. Nice.

11. Tiny Wooden Box

Tiny Wooden Box is the last song of the album which has already been released as a feature. The track is another uptempo one, which comes with a lot of fun while listening to it. Really nice.

All the hurting hereEach and every yearHow we want it toWe want it toWe want it to be goneSo I’ll write another songYeahI’ll write another song

12. Yore

The pre-chucker out is just a 60 seconds listen – so don’t be too lame, otherwise you miss it. The instrumental with a lot of echo slightly reminds my of Oriental tunes.

13. Father John

Father John closes the album. A rather slow song, which is again coming with the typical theatrical touch of this kind of The Dead South. A nice folk-alike listen.


The Dead South – Chains & Stakes – Spotify

Here is Chains & Stakes on Spotify:


The Dead South – Chains & Stakes – My View

Chains & Stakes is a typical The Dead South album. The Canadians have a characteristic sound, they write lovely songs and are gifted with lovely storytelling. If you loved them before, album release day may lead to holiday-alike feels. A very nice one.

Favorite Song: Son of Ambrose


The Dead South – Europe 2024


The Dead South tour Central Europe in summer 2024. Here are the tour dates:

Sa 01.06.2024 Berlin (Germany) – Zitadelle Spandau
Su 02.06.2024 Leipzig – Clara-Zetkin Park
Tu 04.06.2024 Prague (Czech Republic) – Zlute Lazne
We 05.06.2024 Bratislava (Slovakia) – STARS Auditorium
Th 06.06.2024 Budapest (Hungary) – Budapest Park
Tu 11.06.2024 Cologne (Germany) – Palladium
We 12.06.2024 Wiesbaden – Schlachthof
Th 13.06.2024 Munich – Zenith
Tu 18.06.2024 Paris (France) – Salle Pleyel


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