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The Deep Dark Woods - The Canadian Blues
on 21 October 2013
The Deep Dark Woods are a band of trusted collaborators from Saskatoon comprising lead singer Ryan Boldt who writes most of the lyrics, and ably supported by Chris Mason, Lucas Goetz and new addition guitarist Clayton Linthicum. They provide further evidence that there must be a conveyor belt somewhere in Canada dedicated to producing the spiritual heirs to Neil Young. Undoubtedly Deep Dark Woods owe a huge debt to old Shakey not least in terms of the opener to this album "Miles and Miles" being hewn from a source which any one with the most remote interest in music would recognise. If it was a stick of rock it would have "'Crazy Horse" emblazoned inside when you bite it. But as the album develops there are wider influences at play drawn out in the production of "Jubilee" by the man of the moment Jonathan Wilson. The pounding "18th of December" for example harks back to the Band, while "Pictures on my wall" has a hint of Roy Orbison. With song titles like "I took to Whoring" and "Bourbon Street" you don't need to be Hercule Poriot to guess the sort of lyrical themes contained in Jubilee. Equally Jonathan Wilson locates their sound bang in the middle of classic 1970s American rock with the ten minute plus "The Same thing" wearing its Grateful Dead influences firmly on a protruding sleeve harking part very effectively to that laid back flowing guitar style.
Whilst a very referential approach to music there is enough on "Jubilee" which is contained within a meticulous sounding album to bring good cheer to any music lover. Firstly the songs are very well written. The funky "Red Red Rose" echoes Little Feat via Levon Helm but then why don't more bands plough this funky rock furrow? The sombre ballad "Its been a long Time" is a nice eerie quality which is also displayed on "Pacing the Room" a bitter tale of break up where the songs protagonist sings "I am leaving this country/ My bag's in my hand / I'm leaving sweet Susie / The finest in the land / Her father he hates me / He says I'm too poor / Now I'm pacing the room / and I'm bitter to the core / I'm pacing the room `cause of you.". Certainly there are occasions where the band slip over the line where their sound is just too derivative. Thus the "Beater" could be a long lost Neil Young song. But on the whole this is a album of quality Americana that shows a band with an encyclopaedic list of influences which are generally used to good effect and at its best there is a timeless quality to "Jubilee".