13 Songs, 59 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The third release by this Saskatchewan-based quintet is a slow stunner. At first listen, its soothing sound echoes fellow Canadians like The Band and Neil Young, along with countless other roots-rock outfits with Appalachian folk in their DNA. But while the template's familiar, the results are often remarkable. The Deep Dark Woods specialize in shadowy, mournful ballads best represented by the title track, “Mary’s Gone,” and “Virginia.” The tracks are marked by finger-picked guitar, close harmonies, pedal steel, warm organ, fiddle, and subtle yet firmly rooted drumming. Guided by Ryan Boldt's wistful, heart-tugging vocals, the tension mounts deliberately and carefully across the album. The tempo picks up on “Sugar Mama” and “Dear John” just enough to offer contrast, but on the whole The Place I Left Behind keeps a languid pace that matches the gripping stories touching on the historical (“The Banks of the Leopold Canal”), the fictional (“The Ballad of Frank Dupree”), and the personal (“Big City Lights,” “I Just Can’t Lose”). These songs may come on slowly, but they’re built to last. 

EDITORS’ NOTES

The third release by this Saskatchewan-based quintet is a slow stunner. At first listen, its soothing sound echoes fellow Canadians like The Band and Neil Young, along with countless other roots-rock outfits with Appalachian folk in their DNA. But while the template's familiar, the results are often remarkable. The Deep Dark Woods specialize in shadowy, mournful ballads best represented by the title track, “Mary’s Gone,” and “Virginia.” The tracks are marked by finger-picked guitar, close harmonies, pedal steel, warm organ, fiddle, and subtle yet firmly rooted drumming. Guided by Ryan Boldt's wistful, heart-tugging vocals, the tension mounts deliberately and carefully across the album. The tempo picks up on “Sugar Mama” and “Dear John” just enough to offer contrast, but on the whole The Place I Left Behind keeps a languid pace that matches the gripping stories touching on the historical (“The Banks of the Leopold Canal”), the fictional (“The Ballad of Frank Dupree”), and the personal (“Big City Lights,” “I Just Can’t Lose”). These songs may come on slowly, but they’re built to last. 

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