Photo (c) Patrick Schmidt

After a stellar one-off opening set for The Sadies last week, Saskatoon's favourite murder-balladin', vocal-harmonizin', country-croonin' band of misfits The Deep Dark Woods are gearing up to release their latest full-length recording, The Place I Left Behind. It's been a couple of years since The Woods released their excellent Winter Hours album and the CBC Songquest track "Charlie's (Is Coming Down)," and this time around we see the boys try a new locale, new studio and new recording personnel.

"We went to Halifax to record this one at a great studio downtown called The Sonic Temple," said Woods drummer Lucas Goetz, via email. "We recorded our CBC Songquest single... there with engineer Darren Van Niekirk.  We loved the surroundings, the studio and the sound that we got for "Charlie's..." and decided to produce the record ourselves.  The result was a real representation of all of us shaping the sound together"

Those more familiar with The Deep Dark Woods know their love of traditional old-tyme music, which often makes its way on to their albums. With The Place, however, they decided to once again break the mould.

"All the songs on the album are original this time around," said Goetz. "'Back Alley Blues' is actually written by our road manager/handler/pal 'Uncle' Evan. (Bassist) Chris (Mason) has a couple songs, including "West Side Street," and Ryan (Boldt) wrote the rest. There are definitely some songs that are influenced by traditional music."

The new album also marks the first time keyboardist extraordinaire Geoff Hilhorst has been part of the process from start to finish.

"We've had some keys parts on previous albums, but this time around Geoff has been a part of the arrangements from the start and it adds a whole new dynamic and depth," said Goetz. "He fits in quite nicely and has been very involved with the arrangements.  He also has pushed us a little bit into new territories that we wouldn't have thought of without his suggestion. He's a real intuitive musician which is very effective in our band."

The Place I Left Behind will feature a new stamp on the back, as The Woods have signed with one of the mover and shaker labels in the world of "indie" folk and country music, Toronto's Six Shooter Records.

With the album slated for release in the fall, Woods fans will have to wait a little bit longer, though if you live near any of the following places, you might just hear some songs from the new record:

7-8 Canmore, AB - Canmore Hotel
7-9 Calgary, AB - The Palomino (Calgary Stampede)
7-14 Saskatoon, SK - Amigos Cantina
7-15-17 Yellowknife, NT - Folk on the Rocks
8-4-7 Edmonton, AB - Edmonton Folk Music Festival
8-12-14 Ear Falls, ON - Trout Forest Music Festival
8-20-21 Kelwood, MB - Harvest Sun Music Festival
8-27 Wood Mountain, SK - Wood Mountain Folk Festival

If you can't make any of these summer dates, the Woods have generously made one of their songs, "West Side Street" available through Exclaim!'s website.

Deep Dark Woods - "West Side Street"

The Deep Dark Woods - West Side Street by killbeat music