Toronto’s alt-country crooners The Wooden Sky are ready to get carnal when they play Lucky Bar next week in support of their new album.
Every Child a Daughter, Every Moon a Sun affirms lead singer/songwriter Gavin Gardiner’s claim that the band reached a new level of creative cohesiveness while recording. Now, he can’t wait to share it with live audiences across North America.
“We’re very excited,” Gardiner says over the phone from Toronto. “Putting together an album is a ton of work and you put a lot of pressure on yourself, you put that pressure on each other, too, and take it out on each other… so once the record is finished and we’re all excited about it, then we can go out and play it and it’s not as much thinking, it’s more carnal and just doing what feels right.”
The Wooden Sky weaves together tales of life’s highs and lows with quietly powerful musical arrangements and ghostly harmonies. A distinct narrative quality has always permeated the band’s songs and that trend holds true on this new record. For Gardiner, writing songs through the eyes of various characters gives him the ability to expand his perspective while also examining himself.
“I enjoy writing story songs because it lets me come outside of myself,” Gardiner says. “But at the same time, I listen back and I’m in there in every single song, which is good. If you’re not going to be putting yourself into [the songs] then I don’t know if I would be able to believe in it.”
Gardiner points to people like writer Raymond Carver and musician Harry Chapin (“Cat’s in the Cradle”), a favourite of Gardiner’s father, as influences who helped shape his knack for using songs as a means to relay stories, taking simple or sad moments and drawing out the traces of beauty from within.
“I sort of think that is what I am trying to do with my songwriting,” Gardiner says, “using it as a vehicle to explore those themes of the human condition and how they relate to each other, and how they relate to me, and how I relate to the world. It’s not an easy thing to sum up, but I think it is important that people are going there and thinking about it.”
If Gardiner is the storyteller, then the other band members are the illustrators. With a balanced blend of restraint and release, the musical arrangements on Every Child perfectly underscore the record’s simple grace.
The new songs and the band’s comfortable chemistry have impressed live audiences.
“It’s been really great,” Gardiner says. “[The songs] are pretty different live. You get in front of an audience and there is a certain energy that comes with that…. It’s very exciting to be playing live right now, I feel that more than I ever have before. It’s kind of hard to explain, but every time I get on stage with these guys right now there is some kind of energy that is there, that was brewing in the past, but now it feels like we have really harnessed in on it.” M
By Dylan Toigo
The Wooden Sky with Sunparlour Players
Tues., April 10