Take a good look at the band's name and you'll get a pretty accurate idea of what their songs are about. The Undertakin' Daddies offer tunes with some heavy themes, much of it similar to the ballads that came out of Appalachia and focused on murder and similar dark subjects. Post Atomic Hillbilly, the band's first album, features numbers such as "Pictou County Coal" and "Pushin' Up Daisies" that revolve around mine collapses, a drowning, and other disasters, songs in which people either are maimed or die. There's a heavy does of heartache in the sound that critics have praised as "marvelous," "soulful," and "vintage." It's a blend of roots, folk, country, and bluegrass. Cariboo Records released the debut in 2001, and it went on to garner a nomination in the Juno Awards. The band, which formed in the Yukon city of Whitehorse in 2000, also received a nomination for Yukon Artist of the Year.
The group is composed of Nathan Tinkham on lap steel guitar and dobro; Bob Hamilton on bass and mandolin; Kevin Barr on bass and guitar; and George McConkey on guitar and harmonica. Hamilton, Barr, and McConkey also provide vocals. Their first public appearance occurred at a northern festival with the frigid name of Frostbite 2000. Band members were acquainted with each other a long time before they came together as a unit. Much of the group's original material flows from the pens of Hamilton and Barr, while classics from Dolly Parton, Roger Miller, and others are covered, too. McConkey, Hamilton, and Barr previously performed together in a few different lineups in Whitehorse. Tinkham formerly accompanied Cindy Church and Ian Tyson, and was a part of the Great Western Orchestra. ~ Linda Seida