Somewhere near the middle of Murder By Death‘s show last week at The Jinx here in Savannah, lead singer Adam Turla told the audience that the band was about to play a new song — one about his grandfather who had been ill for many years. Adam noted his mother’s role as longtime caregiver, and then he added that his grandfather had died the day before the show.
A similar announcement at another show might have seemed schmaltzy, sentimental, shocking. But if you’re already a fan of Murder By Death, you know the band has been meditating on the inevitability of death and the burdens of living for over a decade. Thursday’s set here in Savannah even began with “I Came Around”, a brilliant song about paying the “false courtesy” of going to a funeral of someone you never liked — and realizing you’d been wrong about him all along.
So Turla’s matter-of-fact statement about his grandfather’s passing just brought the crowd closer, and then after a couple of other high-powered songs with dark themes, it was time to sing about whiskey.
This was Murder By Death’s third time in Savannah and at The Jinx. They played the inaugural Savannah Stopover and then at The Jinx’s 10th anniversary in late 2013. I was also lucky to catch Murder By Death at Headliners Music Hall in Louisville back in June (photos here). I was on the road a lot over the summer dealing with a family crisis, and I found — and continue to find — real comfort in Murder By Death’s unflinching art. At the show in Louisville, I took particular note of a new song titled something like “A Big Dark Love”. Before last week’s gig, I asked bassist Matt Armstrong if that song was on the set list. He told me it wasn’t, but then Adam gave me a shoutout from the stage as the band launched into it.
Murder By Death has a new album in the can, and we’ll definitely be writing about its release — and hopefully covering the band’s tour to promote it. Petee, Tom, and I all brought our cameras to the show last week (I know, this is not the most efficient use of our resources, but we’re here for the music, not the logic), so we have a lot of pics after the jump. The lighting was tough — sometimes The Jinx is able to mix up the looks better than in last week’s show.
Devil At My Side opened — and what a pleasure to see them again so soon after Statts Fest. The band is basically an Americana rock act with Tony Beasley/Whiskey Dick plus the members of Niche. Perfect opener for MBD.