Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
The Deep Dark Woods, a band from Saskatoon, feels as if it's chopped some wood and tapped some maple trees in its time. It's a band that we would peg as being ready for any conditions - with arms covered, feet booted up warm and dry and a good hearty breakfast of eggs and flapjacks resting like a log in its stomach. The band carries the torch of great Canadian songwriters old and contemporary - from Neil Young and The Band to Patrick Watson and Jason Collett - and makes it their own by making it a hybrid of the sound that feels local, as if they're walking us around their hometown, showing us how little or how much there is to see. They show us their lawnmower and the lawn they use it on and how it runs right up to the edge of the forest or how the road that gets us to their house just runs out, as if exhausted.
We feel as if we're in a part of the world that respects daylight being at a premium, not a given and which experiences crippling winters where there's a threat that your cupboard could go bare if you didn't play your cards right. We feel like we've been brought somewhere that barn dances still happen, where people still get together to play cards on Friday and Saturday nights, where there are potlucks with great deviled eggs, baked beans and spit-cooked hog.
They bring us music that feels like fresh tracks of snow in a field, like days that get rained out and you're stuck in your own head, in your own house and in your own heart. It's one hell of a place to be, but it's as insulated as you're ever going to be. You feel safe there, so you stay for a long time, making more tracks.
*Essay originally published August, 2012
The Deep Dark Woods Official Site
Sugar Hill Records