How I came to discover The Wooden Sky is one of the great joys of my life as a writer. I was at Schubas in August of 2010 to interview The Rural Alberta Advantage before their set, and the opener was another band from Canada that I’d never heard of. With a few minutes between the time we arrived and the time of the interview I stood at the back of the space and listened to a really amazing band. I got to hear three songs before it was time to go, and in that short span I was hooked. When I went down into the green room and exchanged pleasantries with Nils, one of my first questions was “Who is that playing right now?” He told me they were called The Wooden Sky. Good friends of The RAA, they were brought across the border with what Nils called “questionable documentation.”
After the interview and watching a ridiculously awesome set by The RAA, the opener slipped my mind. A few days went by, and I emailed the manager who had set up the interview to see if she could get me any materials on The Wooden Sky. She couldn’t, and for whatever reason the web was in short supply of info. Crestfallen, I gave up my search. Then, out of nowhere I came across a EP called City Of Light that the band put out in October last year. I devoured that EP. Five songs that perfectly captured the feeling I got that night at Schubas. I was born anew with love of canadian folk/country music.
Now a scant four months later, The Wooden Sky return with a full-length that builds on that EP’s beauty. Every Child A Daughter, Every Moon A Sun is a gorgeous demonstration of great songwriting and creating atmosphere. While every song is different, there is an ominous tone presiding over everything. Song themes range from the broken heart ballads like “It Gets Old To Be Alone” to the almost unbearable sadness of death on “Your Fight Will Not Be Long.”
A lot of the credit on this record goes to Gavin Gardiner, the lead singer. His voice matches the material so perfectly that I couldn’t imagine him doing anything else. In his deeper range, he reminds me a lot of Will Loyal of Homemade Knives, which might have something to do with my immediate attraction to The Wooden Sky. There’s a sincerity in Gardiner’s voice that makes you feel like every word is true, like he’s confiding something secret to his audience.
There are a couple of surprises on the album that I was not ready for. After five songs with a pretty familiar feel, “Take Me Out” turns everything on its head with a 50’s-style guitar riff that makes me think of the band in Back To The Future every time (this track can also be found on the EP) It also reminds me, the slightest little bit, of “Teenage Love Song” by Rilo Kiley. And later on the song “I’m Your Man,” things get a little strange musically in a droney folk kinda way in the background. It adds some depth that makes the song a little more interesting than a few others on the record.
I’m so happy to have found The Wooden Sky again. And the news keeps getting better, as they just embarked on a tour supporting this album. They’ll be in Chicago on March 25, appearing with Bhi Bhiman, at Schubas. Every Child A Daughter, Every Moon A Sun is available now, and I urge you to check it out. It may not be for everyone, but I’m guessing it’s for a lot of you. If you’d like to sample it before you buy, I believe you can stream the album in its entirety on Paste Magazine’s website.