March 11, 2015
Warning: This post contains some content that may be considered offensive.
Saskatoon alt-country act The Deep Dark Woods, nominated for a 2015 JUNO Award for their latest record, Jubilee, have drawn their fair share of comparisons to Canadian-American icons The Band for their harmony-rich roots-rock sound. In this edition of SoundOff, frontman Ryan Boldt elaborates on his Canadian favourites, and talks tough crowds, strange gigs, and more.
Do you remember the first album that you ever bought?
I don’t know, probably DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince or something like that. I try not to think about that.
DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince’s 1991 track “Summertime.”
Is there a particular Canadian act that inspired you growing up? What made that artist stand out to you?
The Band was kind of the first Canadian band that I got into when I was 16. I saw a magazine with their self-titled record in it, and just became obsessed with them as a kid. Neil Young came after that, and Sylvia Tyson. I’m a huge Great Speckled Bird fan. Leonard Cohen, too. Those are some of my all-time favorites.
The Band performing “King Harvest,” off their self-titled 1969 album.
What was your first live music experience? Who did you see?
I saw the reunited Misfits at Louis’ Pub in the eighth grade. At the time, it blew me away. A week later I saw BB King with my dad, and that was the one that really got me.
Post-Glenn Danzig era Misfits, and their track “Dig Up Her Bones.”
What’s your favourite Canadian venue, and what makes it so special?
I really love Times Change(d) in Winnipeg. Winnipeg was one of the first out-of-town gigs that we ever had. I love that place. Every time we’re in town we try and stop by even if were not playing. The Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto is really nice, too.
What’s the weirdest, strangest or best gig you’ve ever played, and where was it?
We’ve had a lot of weird gigs. Columbus, Georgia was pretty weird. It’s like a military town. There was maybe 10 people that wanted to hear dance music, and we didn’t really do that for them, so they heckled us. That was last year, too.
That one and a show at the Times Change(d) about eight years ago. I don’t know if you can put this in, but a girl that was right at the back of the dance floor put her finger up, started walking towards me, and poked me right in the dink as I was singing. I had to hold myself back from laughing, but it turned out alright I guess.
The Deep Dark Woods performing “Jubilee.”
What motivates you to keep playing music?
Well, I don’t know how to do anything else. That’s why I like playing. I can’t stop. It’s an addiction, really. I don’t have anything else to fall back on.