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Web Original / American Murder Song

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Who will you be at the Six-Mile Inn?

"Follow the Mark."
— Tagline
American Murder Song is a 2016 project created by Terrance Zdunich and Saar Hendelman. The story involves two "Blood Travellers," Mister Storm and Mister Tender, interacting with the spirits of infamous past murderers in 1816 America in a tavern known as the Six-Mile Inn. Eventually, a mysterious snowstorm in the middle of summer confines the Blood Travellers to stay in the Six-Mile Inn, while others make mass migrations west to escape the bitter cold of "The Year Without a Summer." Unbeknownst to them, a vengeful group known as "The Reckoning" are pulling a few strings behind the scenes...


  • EP. I: Dawn
  • EP. II: Providence
  • EP. III: The Reckoning
  • EP. IV: Wake
  • EP. V: The Donner Party

This series provides examples of:

  • Accidental Murder: In "Mary," it's implied that the titular character didn't intend to kill her father, but would rather go into a self-imposed exile than face the fact that her father is dead.
  • Arc Number: 1816 - The "Year Without A Summer".
    • In The Donner Party, 5 for the Five Sisters.
  • Arc Symbol: The Mark.
  • Arc Words: "Murder! Murder! Murder! Murder!" and "Murder be thy name."
  • Arranged Marriage: Mary's father tries to arrange one for her, of the Kissing Cousins variety. Mary, being twelve years old, is less than enthusiastic, and this leads to her accidentally killing her father.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The lyrics for Johnny ("Where o where is quiet Johnny?/Quiet Johnny can't be saved/...Quiet Johnny, quiet grave") imply something horrible happened to the title character. In the end, Johnny isn't the one in the grave, but it's implied he was responsible for the dead creatures inside of it.
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  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The narrator of "June", who kills her brother to inherit his land, soon finds it barren and useless because of the "Year Without a Summer".
  • Bookends
    • In "Lullaby," the opening line "Hush falls the evening,/ And tickles the bell./ One freckle, three freckle, four." is repeated at the end.
    • In the beginning of "Wake Up," the narrator tells "Little 'Liza" to wake up. At the end of the song, he states that "She's up, she's up,/ Little 'Liza, she's up."
    • The fourth EP itself has the first song, "Wake Up." During the chorus, the narrator states that he "must go walking as somebody else." Sure enough, the last song on the EP is called "I'm Always Walking as Somebody Else."
    • "A Body on the Step" gives us "Put on your Sundays, we're gonna dig a hole!"
    • "A Black Matilda" has the opening verse "O a black 'Tilda don't fit for no grave/ O a black 'Tilda, by the lamb are we saved/ For she done cast herself/ For a black matilda/ And we spit down the hole/ With no name." repeated at the end.
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    • In "August," the verse "Who stole the sun from the sky, O Lord?/ Pale and unforgiven./ Who stole the sun from the sky, O Lord?/ Round and round again." heard in the beginning is repeated at the end.
    • The fifth EP, The Donner Party, starts with a track called "The Black Wagon." The last track on the EP is called "The Black Wagon Returns."
  • Cain and Abel: In "Edward", Edward murders his brother William for being their mother's favorite.
  • The Casanova /The Bluebeard: The titular character in "Unwed Henry" seduces women, marries them, and then murders them.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: In the final "Curse" video, Mister Tender breaks down the door to the Six-Mile Inn and turns around... only to find that Mister Storm has started flirting with Sweet Rosalie.
  • Driven to Suicide: In "July," the narrator hangs himself so that he can die on his own land rather than succumb to the "Ohio fever."
  • Due to the Dead: The title character of "A Black Matilda" is denied any, being dumped in an unmarked grave into which people spit before burying her.
  • Half-Breed Discrimination: One interpretation of "A Black Matilda" is that the titular woman is manipulated into having a relationship with her master, conceives a child, and is left to die in the woods while her child's grave is spat in and left nameless in shame.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The family in "Pray" are cannibals.
    • The Donner Party is about... well...
  • Kids Are Cruel: A few songs, such as "Edward" and "Johnny" deal with children being the murderers. Subverted in "Mary"; yeah, she killed her dad, but not on purpose.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: The narrator in "Sweet Rosalie" keeps constantly coming up with ridiculous excuses for Rosalie's behavior. Examples include "They say she strangled Black Dougherty's cat/ They say she strangled Black Dougherty's cat/ But her calico bonnet looked nothing like that!" and "And more that she bludgeoned her Pa in his bed/ And more that she bludgeoned her Pa in his bed/ But that could have been anyone wearing his head."
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Mary" sounds like an upbeat, energetic folk song if you're not paying too close attention to the actual lyrics.
  • Murder Ballad: The entire project is centered around these.
  • Something Completely Different: "June" and "The Five Sisters" feature female guest vocalists singing the lead, with Zdunich and Hendleman performing background vocals. "June" is also mostly spoken-word, with a few sung interludes.
  • Soprano and Gravel: Many of the songs take advantage of the contrast between the tenor-voiced Hendleman and the much more gravelly Zdunich.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Once again, the narrator in "Sweet Rosalie" ultimately dies due to his denial of Rosalie's Ax-Crazy behavior.
  • Would Hurt a Child: In "July," the narrator murders his own children in order to save them from the "Ohio fever."

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