The Deep Dark Woods wake the ghosts of Appalachia with their prairie gothic pyre-side tales. On their new record, The Place I Left Behind, the band finds continuity in themes of temporal and geographic alienation, neglected inward trails, and the scars of abandoned intimacies.
Buoyed by the success of working with mastermind recording engineer Darren Van Niekerk, on their self produced CBC Songquest single “Charlie's (is Coming Down)” the band decided to approach their new album the same way. Recorded in Halifax with Van Niekerk behind the board once again, The Deep Dark Woods’ first self produced album allowed them to experiment in the studio as never before. Toying with numerous reverbs, vintage amps, instruments and mellotron, they also tried some never before played versions and arrangements of some of the album's songs. While more physically and mentally exhausting than previous albums, it turned out exactly the way the band wanted it to and the reward is their most realized album to date.
The record opens with a song about Saskatoon’s rougher edges. “West Side Street” is a study in contrasts – finespun vocals and a gently rolling melody cushion the gloomy story. “The Place I Left Behind” is loosely based on an old folk standard. Gorgeously morose, the title track confirms that The Deep Dark Woods capture lonesome yearning at its loveliest. “Sugar Mama” is a sweet and lively invitation to tap toes and shake off the blues; a seeming coming-of-age story is treated with playful banjo and an airy gait.
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 Place I Left Behind echoes with traces of time and space that are never fully abandoned or forgotten.
The Place I Left Behind will be released on Six Shooter Records in Canada on August 2nd and Sugar Hill Records in the US and worldwide on October 18th.