When: 7.30pm on Monday 20 February 2012
Where: The Castle Hotel, 66 Oldham Street, Manchester M4 1LE
We’re excited to welcome Canada’s The Deep Dark Woods to The Castle!
Canadian alt-country band The Deep Dark Woods caught critics’ ears across the country with the release of 2009’s Winter Hours. The album, a solemn ode to darker themes of seclusion and detachment, could yet warm even the bottomless, frozen nights of hometown Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. With Winter Hours, The Deep Dark Woods won Best Roots Group at the 2009 Western Canadian Music Awards, and Ensemble of the Year at the 2009 Canadian Folk Music Awards. The band also had the runaway winner in CBC’s Great Canadian Songquest with Charlie’s (Is Coming Down), a song about Good Time Charlie’s in Regina.
The Deep Dark Woods frame their music with subtle orchestration; songs are trimmed with minimal embellishments of banjo, piano, with subtle mellotron flutters. Drummer and multi-instrumentalist Lucas Goetz’s layers heartbreaking arches of pedal steel under the clarity and warmth of Ryan Boldt’s voice. Newest member, organ-player Geoff Hilhorst furnishes the songs’ edges with slurred polyphonies, while surefooted, danceable basslines and rich second vocals belong to Chris Mason. Burke Barlow’s clarion guitar tone and lead lines are focused and impeccable.
Their new album, The Place I Left Behind, finds continuity in themes of temporal and geographic alienation, neglected inward trails, and the scars of abandoned intimacies. The album opens with a song about Saskatoon’s rougher edges. A rainstorm over the desert of modern music, The Place I Left Behind offers murder ballads alongside scrappy rockers, lovesick hymnals and slow-dance waltzes. The album illuminates folk traditions without stripping the shadows of roots music history – The Deep Dark Woods wake the ghosts of Appalachia with their prairie gothic pyre-side tales. The Place I Left Behind echoes with traces of time and space that are never fully abandoned or forgotten.
‘A Canadian band whose multipart harmonies are more pristine than Gram Parsons and the Byrds might’ve dreamed possible’ – Nashville Scene
‘Like The Deep Dark Woods’ fellow countryman Neil Young, the group taps into a species of Americana that sounds more authentic than a dozen contemporary bands garnering that same label’ – Eugene Weekly
‘A timeless, organic sound. It feels weather beaten and worn in, like a great album from the Band‘ – Billboard
Support comes from Walton Hesse. Burst into being from the sunny imagination of songwriter Matt Grayson, Walton Hesse are a lapsed congregation of optimistic outcasts standing on the shoulders of Big Star and Wilco, peering into the shaft of a 13th Floor Elevator. Frontier-facing and burdened by a twisted nostalgia this alt-country psych creation blend the melodious harmonies of Matt and Nicola Crosby haunted by the ghostly union of Gram and Emmylou to bring Arizona desert plains to the streets of Manchester.
Opening the show will be another Hey! Manchester regular, James Kelly. James plays an impressively energetic bluesy solo set, complete with ‘a voice, a classical guitar. a bass drum pedal and a guitar case’.