The Deep Dark Woods – The Place I Left Behind

This is the third album from one of Canada’s best folk bands, a record full of tales from the past, of people and places “left behind” funnily enough, and of course love and regret.

The first track lends itself perfectly to a little sing along, quite upbeat and hopeful, but as it gives way to the second the hopeful aspect seems to shrink in favour of some beautifum harmonies and downbeat violins in the second track. The third, Mary’s Gone, is a tale of lost love and loneliness, telling of roaming and rambling with the harmonies giving off a sense of wanderlust, mirrored in the wailing guitars behind the vocals.

This album demonstrates The Deep Dark Woods’ talent for story-telling, Virginia being a slightly more positive track than Mary’s Gone as there seems to be a possibility that the girl might come back, even if all she does is cause heartbreak, ok maybe she’s a tricky one.  Sugar Mama is a man asking for a chance, “come on sugar mama take a chance with me, I’m a lot older than I used to be” with happier melodies, more like they’re at a party than in an empty bar at 2am drowning their sorrows.

The lovely harmonies and the melancholic lyrics continue to the end of the album, with a more bluesy offering in the later half with I Just Can’t Lose. The Ballad of Frank Dupree  talks of an unexplained murder with more focus on the heavier guitars. Then finally, to sum it all up is the final track Oh What A Life, a practically perfect conclusion to this hour-long trip down someone else’s memory lane.

The rich sound and the warmth of this record is something the Travelling Willburys would be proud of, somewhere between them and New York’s folk stars The Felice Brothers and not disimilar to Justin Townes Earle’s debut album Harlem River Blues. The musicians are supposed to be some of Canada’s finest and the proof is certainly in the listening, whilst what has been produced could be called classic in terms of sound, the themes and the sentiments always have been and always will be relevent, heartbreak and regret stop for no man. The album was self produced late last year, proving that the band really do know what they’re doing, and just maybe, even on album number three, they haven’t yet peaked.

The album can be streamed in it’s entirety here

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