Monday, July 13th, 2009
My Old Ghosts
An introduction to The Wooden Sky
MySpaceIt seems a bit odd to be offering an “introduction” to a band that I, at least, have known for well over half a decade but aside from a live review in 2007 and come offhand mentions, I don’t think I’ve ever really talked at length about Toronto outfit The Wooden Sky, and that’s really a shame. I first caught them back in the Summer of 2003 in a random east end bar in their previous guise as Friday Morning’s Regret and my old band also played a show with them in the Spring of 2004 and both times they impressed with their polished yet rough-hewn roots rock.
It was with their 2007 record When Lost At Sea that they really seemed to step up their game, moving from a band seemingly content to operate proficiently within a musical idiom into one more interested in colouring outside those lines, offering up a record with much greater sonic and emotional depth than I’d expected, spreading out the high points equally between the rockers and weepers. It wasn’t a dramatic reinvention, but apparently a significant enough transformation that the band saw fit to shed the name that had served them well for so long and adopt a new one, The Wooden Sky, taken from one of the tracks on the new record. And though copies of When Lost At Sea had already been released under the Friday Morning’s Regret marque, subsequent copies came out as the first Wooden Sky record.
And now they’ve completed their next album and first wholly recorded as The Wooden Sky in If I Don’t Come Home You’ll Know I’m Gone, due out on August 25. It’s a touch less raucous than its predecessor but more than makes that up with greater beauty and elegance – “Oslo”, in particular, is a stunner. It doesn’t immediately come across as a record that will vault the band to the forefront of the national musical consciousness, but it is another confident step forward and if by some confluence of events The Wooden Sky do find themselves in the spotlight, Gone will find them ready for it.
The band are setting out on a cross-Canada tour in late July to lead up to the record’s release though the jaunt. Dubbed the “Bedrooms and Backstreets Tour”, it will find them playing cities big and small and some rooms that probably aren’t even proper rooms – I don’t think the July 23 listing for “Rooftop Affair” in Toronto is so much a location as a description. Expect more details on that and other shows to come out as the dates draw near. And in the meantime, enjoy a track from the new record and a couple plus video from When Lost At Sea.
Another of Canada’s greatly underappreciated roots-rock bands – Cuff The Duke – are gearing up for the release of their new record Way Down Here on September 8 and have also slated a slew of dates to promote. Locally, they’ll play the Festival Of Beer at the CNE Bandshell on August 9, then set out on a cross-country tour in September and October, including two nights – October 16 and 17 – at the Horseshoe in Toronto.
Video: Jenn Grant – “Heartbreaker”
Joe Pernice’s concert/book reading at the Dakota Tavern in support of his new book/album It Feels So Good When I Stop has been moved from September 15 to the 24th. The record is still out August 4 and the book is out August 6.