Blood-Soaked Folk: Exclusive Coverage of American Murder Song’s EP Launch Party


In case you didn’t know, a “murder ballad” is a sub-genre of the traditional folk song, the lyrics of which paint a colorful and often mournful narrative describing the events of a homicide.

The quirky offshoot was born in the early 1800s in the Appalachian Mountains, spread like wildfire, and reached its peak in Depression-era 1930s. It was occasionally resurrected in modern-day rock. The Jimi Hendrix hit “Hey Joe” is a murder ballad, and so is “Carolina Drama” by The Raconteurs. Even Eminem tried it out with “Stan.” Those are a few scattered examples, but the art form really hit its zenith in contemporary music when Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds released their seminal album Murder Ballads in 1996.

American Murder Song

That was 20 years ago. It’s time for some new blood. And we know just the duo: Terrance Zdunich and Saar Hendelman – going by the stage names Messrs. Storm and Tender – have been working harder than moonshiners in Prohibition to bring us a fine assemblage of blood-soaked folk in the form of an EP of all-new, old-souled tunes, American Murder Song.

Last night in Los Angeles at Fonogenic Studios they debuted the EP and a new video to an enthusiastic, black-clad and corseted crowd of fans from their previous collaborations (Repo! The Genetic Opera and The Devil’s Carnival film series and music). Spotted in the audience were director Darren Lynn Bousman, actor Barry Bostwick, and singer Emilie Autumn, to name a few.

Messrs. Storm and Tender played five fantastic songs, then unveiled their latest video, “Pretty Lavinia,” directed by Jake Akuna.

Starring Zdunich, Hendelman, and Alissa White-Gluz (lead vocalist for the Swedish metal band Arch Enemy), the gritty Old West-meets-steampunk styled mini-movie depicts the life and deadly times of historical outlaw Lavinia Fisher (America’s first female serial killer). “Pretty Lavinia” also features Aurelio Voltaire, a dark-cabaret icon (his appearance garnered much applause). The video is quite haunting, evoking the spirit of a Roaring 20s nickelodeon.

Stay tuned for updates at the official American Murder Song website.  Meanwhile, here are some exclusive photos and a performance video from the event.

American Murder Song

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