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Critics can't stop The Wooden Sky

Peter Gardner | Nexus (Camosun College) | Lifestyles | October 19th, 2009

VICTORIA (CUP) — America is leading the way in today's folk resurgence, but thanks to Toronto's The Wooden Sky and their unconventional touring techniques, Canada is helping to bring the genre back to the front of today's music scene.

“I don't really know why there's been a resurgence of folk, but part of why I love it so much is it's a resurgence of song-based music,” says The Wooden Sky guitarist/vocalist Gavin Gardiner — adding, after a moment's thought, “actually, ‘song-based music' doesn't really make sense.”

The band just finished a cross-country tour that was unconventional at best. They played at campsites, parks, houses, rained-out rooftops and everything in between, all for free.

“Part of it was inspired by going to house shows in Toronto, experiencing music like that and trying to take that experience on the road,” Gardiner says. “It was interesting because what makes those things special is how it's a group of friends getting together; it's very intimate. But in a lot of ways, that happened on the tour. It made each performance very special and very different.”

The band also played some folk festivals on the tour, including the Edmonton Folk Fest; the cash they got from that helped them play all the other shows for free.

Their new record, If I Don't Come Home You'll Know I'm Gone, has critics and fans talking, which, as far as Gardiner's productivity is concerned, isn't entirely a good thing.

“It's exciting,” says Gardiner, “although it's a little strange to read so much about it. When we put out the last record it just kind of came out, but this time there were lots of reviews to read; I got way too into reading the reviews.”

Gardiner's near-obsession with reading reviews about his band actually ended up debilitating his writing process.

“I lost the motivation to write for a while,” he admits, “because I was worried about what people would say. It's not even just negative; it's positive too.”

Gardiner says he realizes he sounds vain, but even though it's mainly glowing reviews he's reading about his band these days, he still has to put an end to sitting around reading what other people are saying about his band.

“I mean, the feedback for this record has been really good,” he says, “but I think I have to stop.”

The Wooden Sky play Call the Office in London, on Nov. 24.
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