The Wooden Sky
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The Wooden Sky

| INDIE | AFM

| INDIE | AFM
Band Folk Rock

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Just Announced: The song “(Bit Part)” has been confirmed for the Starbucks/iTunes ‘Pick of the Week’ for the November/December timeframe, which puts over 100,000 free download cards in Starbucks locations nation-wide.

TheNewMusic.net – First Spin Feature on Muchmusic.com
http://blog.thenewmusic.net/newmusic-first-spin-the-wooden-sky/
Normally a name change long into a band’s career is often a nail in the coffin or a confusing moment that kills whatever buzz they’ve built. But for Friday Morning’s Regret, it seemed like the right thing to do (for a few good reasons).

Now called The Wooden Sky, the Toronto-based quartet have thrived off changing their name, achieving more in the last couple of years then they had the previous four. Though they originally released their debut album, When Lost At Sea, independently under their original name, they were lucky to have it reissued by Black Box under The Wooden Sky early last year.

If I Don’t Come Home You’ll Know I’m Gone is their follow-up and it picks up from where its predecessor left off. Though the band have slowed and toned down the rock edge of When Lost At Sea, they’ve fine-tuned their rootsier side, which seems like the angle that works better for their rustic, expansive sound.

The most obvious leap forward is in how they’re beaming with more confidence on this record. Lock and Key allows the guitars to soar into an unconventional, bleeding frequency, When We Were Young has them discovering their inner Springsteen and letting loose with an anthem for the blue-collared set, and Oslo is a tear-stained ballad enhanced by some heart-wrenching slide guitar and the help of a brittle female guest vocal duet.

And they were wise to put Oh My God (It Still Means A Lot To Me) upfront - it’s an irresistible introduction that immediately grabs you, much like everything that follows.

Chartattack.com (Review, 5-Cs)
http://www.chartattack.com/reviews/73985/the-wooden-sky-if-i-dont-come-home-youll-know-im-gone
The Wooden Sky seem to be on many best-band-you've-never-heard-of lists, but that status should significantly change when word about If I Don't... starts to spread.

The participant list alone should sufficiently hint at this album's power — it was produced by Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire, Godspeed You! Black Emperor) and includes contributions from members of Ohbijou, Mother Mother, Forest City Lovers, Thee Silver Mount Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band, $100 and The Mars Volta.

The Toronto four-piece — formerly known as Friday Morning's Regret — have crafted a slightly less boisterous affair than their last disc, When Lost At Sea. If I Don't... predominantly features gospel-tinged roots rock, but be sure not to mistake The Wooden Sky for a wimpy outfit. They quite competently tread the soft harmonic waters populated by the likes of Fleet Foxes, and can also step confidently into Elliott Brood-style countrified jams.

At both ends of that spectrum, the songs on If I Don't... are immaculately arranged and lyrically dense. This is one of the best Canadian creations of the year, thus far, and will definitely be more than enough to tide you over until the new Avett Brothers record drops.

Now Toronto (video)
http://www.nowtoronto.com/daily/story.cfm?content=171025
Exclusive video from the band’s in-store performance at Sonic Boom in Toronto.

Exclaim! Magazine
http://exclaim.ca/articles/generalarticlesynopsfullart.aspx?csid2=844&fid1=39803&csid1=0
Ah, summer… new albums and long, sweaty tours. That’s the life of Toronto folk rockers the Wooden Sky these days, as they begin a cross-Canada tour to promote their new release, If I Don’t Come Home You’ll Know I’m Gone.

With the tour starting July 19 and the album coming out August 25 (on Black Box Music/Fontana North), this really could be the summer of the Sky. If not, hey, the Wilco-sounding, country-tinged folk band will get to see some of Canada’s most unconventional and interesting tour stops, including Banff, AB, Whistler, BC, and Lavaltrie, QC.

The string of Canadian dates in larger cities and smaller towns is being aptly billed as the “Bedrooms and Backstreets Tour,” and features shows at proper venues, but also some backyards and houses. And seriously, when was the last time you heard of a Toronto indie folk band playing in Nanaimo, BC? How about Levi’s Backyard in Saskatoon, or Mike’s Apartment in Peterborough? And, more importantly, who are Levi and Mike?

Hey, maybe they’ll even make an impromptu stop at Exclaim! TV star/writer Sam Sutherland’s living room again.

Chromewaves.net (Part 2)
http://www.chromewaves.net/2009/08/the-wooden-sky-at-sonic-boom-in-toronto/
It’s funny that though I offered readers an introduction to The Wooden Sky just last month, watching them play an in-store at Sonic Boom on Monday night, the eve of release for their new album If I Don’t Come Home You’ll Know I’m Gone, it felt like I was the one being introduced to them for th - Various - Now, Chart, Chromewaves, Newmusic.ca, Exclaim & more!


APPARENTLY this Toronto band has very recently changed its name from Friday Morning's Regret (the CD's liner notes still contain the latter moniker), but if you haven't heard of them by either name, it's a situation that should be rectified.

Despite the nautical album title, the group's tuneful, roots-flavoured material has a bleak prairie-gothic perspective (Winnipeg and North Dakota are both name-checked) and an affecting way with both stripped-down country songs and more ramshackle compositions that include cello, banjo, horns and harmonica.

Gavin Gardiner's tenderly ragged vocals recall Conor Oberst's and add a plaintive feel to the honky-tonk heart of Rant in Blue and heighten the starkly haunting chill of The Lonesome Death of Helen Betty Osborne.
The Wooden Sky plays Times Change(d) on Friday.
-- Jill Wilson
- Winnipeg Free Press


(Published just prior to the official name change to "The Wooden Sky".)

A great roots rock band from Toronto, ON, Friday Morning’s Regret have written a thoughtfully diverse album that speaks to their equal interest in breezy folk meditations and storming, smoky alt-country. When Lost At Sea finds the band enamored with the soft, sad balladry by the likes of Richard Buckner but with equal affection for the guitar and rhythm experimentation of latter day Wilco-via-Sonic Youth. Primary vocalist Gavin Gardiner can play the drunken, broken-hearted man on the solitary “Darker Streets than Mine” but that’s because he knows full well that his band-mates are due to wallop the misery out of him with pounding musical flourishes. With its finger-pickin’ guitar and woeful harmonica, “Angst for the Memories” might be conventional folk were it not for Gardiner’s compelling lyricism. There’s great power in gigantic songs like “North Dakota,” where hoarse, trembling vocals streak a grungy arrangement and the band reveal a gift for composition in the multilayered “Requiem for Mary.” Ambitious and well crafted, When Lost at Sea will surely draw more converts to the cult of Friday Morning’s Regret. (Independent) - Exclaim!


When Lost at Sea (Independent)
While they could be filed under a roots-rock/alt-country banner, Friday Morning's Regret defy easy categorization on the challenging When Lost at Sea. Led by talented multi-instrumentalist Gavin Gardiner, these locals present a moody sequence of impassioned songs that capably lull and stir the spirit. Whether warbling gently and conjuring Richard Buckner or wailing with the emotional urgency of Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst, Gardiner renders these unique songs like he's bailing them from his being. Core members Andrew Wyatt and Chris Cocca and a host of guest instrumentalists give each song its own distinct character: the dynamic “North Dakota” is a full-on, power-trio blast; “The Wooden Sky” is the dark cousin to Feist's “Mushaboom”; and the gentle shuffle of “This Bird Has Flown” belies Gardiner's harrowing, self-immolating wordplay – making this the sort of album where the sombre numbers are as intense as the band's storming rockers.
VISH KHANNA
- Eye Weekly


Posted by Tariq Hussain at 12:00 AM

One thing I really miss about Alberta now that I live in Vancouver is thunder storms. Maybe that's a weird thing to miss, but there's something about watching thunder and lightning that's strangely satisfying in an "I'm a powerless little human being" kind of way.

Last weekend I was out in a place called Medicine Hat, Alberta, and the electrical storm I witnessed was incredible! It was about 11pm when the storm started building in the skies above the Hat, but it was strangely silent. I went out into the middle of the street and watched the constant pulse of sheet lightning cut with intermittent bolts, but no sound - and no rain.

For a whole half hour it was like that, maybe because the storm was still far away. I couldn't take my eyes off the sky. I had my headphones around my neck and thought, what songs would go well with this incredible display of nature? So I put them on and hit play. On came The Wooden Sky, which was the last thing I had listened to back in Vancouver.

So there on a deserted street with cars and campers parked outside of darkened houses, I stood watching a light show better than any fireworks display I've ever seen complete with music courtesy of The Wooden Sky. In the song When Lost At Sea, it was those minor chords and eerie backward guitar loops that made it the perfect song for that night, kind of urgent and melancholic all at the same time.
- New Music Canada


The only video I can find for this song is a live recording. The sound quality is actually very good though, if a little quiet. To my dismay I just discovered they played here in Vancouver a few weeks ago. They played The Railway Club too, dammit, a tiny little venue perfect for seeing upcoming artists.
There’s not actually a lot I can find about The Wooden Sky on the tinterweb either. Some research did reveal they used to be known as Friday Morning’s Regret. I like the new name, good decision fellas. Judging by their recent tour dates and links on the CBC website, this must be a Canadian band.

“We got arrested on Aberdeen…”
Frontman Gavin Gardiner has a wonderful vocal style, with a colourful line in lyrics too. It’s a little bit folk, a little alt.country. I like the slide guitars and love how the song picks up the pace halfway through. Is it me or is there something of a sea shanti to this as well? I knows it’s called “When Lost At Sea”… but is the shanti vibe deliberate? Answers on a postcard kids.

This is the kind of song Shane McGowan should have been writing between whiskeys. I think I prefer Gardiner’s honest and effortless vocal though, it’s a perfect marriage with the rest of the sound and they do appear to have a good thing going.

Canada has a way of popping out a gem when you least expect it. Sadly very few make it past the first album and only the lucky few ever make it on a level deserving of their ability. It can take a band from Canada many years to break the US market (Barenaked Ladies, par example). The better bands usually only ever reach underground or cult status and rarely make it over the border, save for a few mini-bus tours. The Weakerthans are an obvious example, having yet to attain anything like the international acclaim they surely warrant.

This is now available on iTunes. Download it tonight for that mix tape you’re doing for the new punky girl that moved in over the road.
- 10cplay.com


First of all, let me preface this review by saying that you'll find this release under the artist name Friday Morning's Regret. The band has officially changed their name to The Wooden Sky, so look for future releases under their new moniker.

There's a childlike excitement in discovering an impressive new band. Part of you wants to hoard your new discovery in a nuclear-proof vault guarded by motion-detectors just so you can maintain a superior level of indie snobbery, but sometimes a band is just too good to keep a secret. Hailing from Toronto, The Wooden Sky is one of those bands. The songs on their album When Lost At Sea are twang-filled tales peppered with harmonica, banjo and slide guitar. Lead singer Gavin Gardiner's scratchy vocals navigate through songs that have a literary, narrative feel to them. And while they never approach the scope of bookishness that a band like the Decemberists may portray, there's definitely a rich sense of storytelling apparent in the folk-rock gems that comprise the album. On the song "The Wooden Sky," Gardiner confesses, "I dreamt last night you were making love to a bird you swore you'd given up/ I woke up shaking/ And the walls kept a watch on the wind outside/ I kept my eyes towards the wooden sky." When Lost At Sea is chalk-full of similar confessionary tales of guilt, loss, and regret, and musically the band builds delicately folksy arrangements that sometimes escalate into full-blown rockouts. It's quite obvious that a lot of thought went into the recording process, and the resulting album is an accomplished piece of work. I almost wish I was Canadian so I could catch a live performance by these guys. Almost.
- thankscaptainobvious.net


When you first walk into the Ocean Island Lounge, you might think to yourself, where is it? Really, it’s only a tiny room inside the Backpacker’s Inn Hostel in downtown Victoria, where a band’s gear and a few spectators take up all the available space. In this instance, The Wooden Sky’s gear was tightly squeezed into the corner of this room that really was about the same size as my apartment’s living room, with only a few blue chairs that marked any official seating. The walls were an array of colours, with flowers painted around the main doorframe, and a low and unfinished sealing. An old television set was randomly placed on a table near my chair, where I kept hitting my elbow throughout the night. Let me tell you though, I was so lost in the music, I barely noticed the pain this random banging and bashing brought on.

I’ve never attended a show in such a small and cramped space before, and I must say, it was nothing short of amazing. It felt like the band and the audience were one, and really, for the majority of the show, I felt like they were just there for me. How could one complain about such an intimate setting? I thought it was wonderful, and it definitely ranks as one of my favourite shows due to the special way that the music was delivered.

Honestly, when is the last time you went to a show and were able to look past the band into a hostel’s kitchenette, and watch as people cooked and ate their dinners, as a wonderful band jammed the night away? Exactly.

Especially after serious bitching and complaining about the random and frustrating crowds of shows past, this one was quite the treat. The vibe was cool, comfortable, cozy and magnificent. What really makes me sad though, is the fact that not all of Victoria had the opportunity to be there and to see what I saw...this band is indeed that splendid.

What made this experience that much more special is the fact that each one of the songs that they played had so much life and energy, it was hard not to fall in love and awe of them all. The band is clearly passionate about what they are doing up there, and no matter how many funny references to beer were had, it’s pretty clear to me that these men are in this for their passion and love for music. They are a very beautiful and cohesive unit that brings passion, well-crafted lyrics, and a personal touch that is distinctly The Wooden Sky (formerly known as Friday Morning’s Regret) to even the most random of stages, or in this case, almost a closet.

There are those singers and musicians out there that are good, and then there are those that are just naturally charismatic and talented where the music just pours out of them, and nothing else could ever make so much sense. Gavin Gardiner is one of these lead singers and musicians, and his natural charm is hard to explain. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of him, and even just the way he stands on stage was enough to call for everyone’s attention.

Throughout the night I felt my blood pressure rising, and even when bass straps came flying off, the show kept on rocking, where I felt like they were going to blow the roof off the joint, and shake the Ocean Lounge down to its inner core. Oh right, they did shake the Ocean Lounge down to its inner core. “Lets get drunk and then play” were Gardiner’s words after their sound check, and that’s really what got the party going, before they shook the house down with songs from their first full-length album When Lost At Sea.

It just kills me that there are amazingly talented bands out there that are not being showcased to the masses, when in reality, their talent is so great everyone should really know about them already. I guess a part of my job is to get the word out of these lovely hidden treasures, and let me tell you, I’ll be speaking of this band to anyone who will listen.

The selfish part of me loved the intimacy and discreetness of this show, although it pains me that such talent is so hard to find, as they were hidden in the darkest corner of a random backpacker’s inn, on a rock, floating in an ocean.

There’s nothing better than finding a new band (at least new to you) to be excited about, and that is one of the many reasons I adore working for twowaymonologues.com. The site has introduced me to artists I wouldn’t otherwise get to hear, and lately, see in a live setting. Right now I have even more reason to love this job, as I just had another one of these amazing experiences that comes with a job such as this. One of the friends I brought with me to the show is a serious hip hop fan, and our musical tastes could not be further apart, and she also fell in love with this band, even enough to purchase her own copy of their album. If that doesn’t speak highly of how amazing their live show was, I don’t know what possibly could.

Sometimes it’s when you don’t have grandiose expectations that really great moments occur, where you’re swept off your feet and unexpectedly surprised, and th - twowaymonologues.com


Discography

"If I Don't Come Home You'll Know I'm Gone" (BBR015)
Released 09/25/09 via Black Box

"The Bedrooms & Backstreets EP" (BBR009p)
Released 07/22/09 via Black Box

"The Lonesome Death..." EP (BBRv001)
Released 10/10/08 via Black Box

"When Lost At Sea" (BBR012)
Released 02/26/08 via Black Box

Photos

Bio

Trying to nail down the disparate genres explored by the Wooden Sky isn’t an easy task. When pressed, the band tosses out tags like “folk rock”, but the words don’t hint at the nuances in their sound. Since 2003, the Toronto collective has been pushing the limits of folk and country, adding pieces of outside influence and slowly growing their own unique sonic aesthetic. It’s all led them to If I don’t come home you’ll know I’m gone, a massive undertaking that sweeps through rock and roll subgenres with the deftness of the Allman Brothers, the songwriting focus of Wilco, and the experimental sonic cacophony of the Flaming Lips. It’s a career-defining record, grown and built organically over months spent living, writing, and recording in cramped apartments between Toronto and Montreal.

After the band’s previous full-length, When Lost at Sea, garnered them national critical praise, college radio play (they charted at #33 on earshot), tours with Canadian indie rock royalty like Julie Doiron, a live performance on MTV, a spot at Osheaga Festival, and an In Session performance on CBC Radio 3, the Wooden Sky set about the daunting task of crafting a worthy follow-up. The result is the kind of democratic rock and roll record that requires the total shedding of ego and the equal involvement of all parties; If I don’t come home you’ll know I’m gone is epic in its scope and contributions, but never bombastic or crowded. It’s a lot of people playing when they need to, not just when they want to.

The record came together somewhere between Montreal and Toronto; starting out at Montreal’s legendary Hotel2Tango studio with Howard Billerman (Arcade Fire, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, the Dears), the band spent two weeks recording all day and sharing a cramped one-bedroom apartment with five friends at night. Three days followed at Toronto’s Lincoln Country Social Club with Chris Stringer (Ohbijou, Timber Timbre, Rush), then a day with the pipe organ and piano at St. Peter's Anglican Church in Cobourg, and, finally, put the finishing touches on at Gardiner and Wyatt’s apartment in Toronto. The list of people involved the creation of the record is expansive, including some of the band’s oldest friends and newest acquaintances: Heather Kirby (Ohbijou), Debra Jean Creelman (ex-Mother Mother), Mika Posen (Forest City Lovers), Jessica Moss (Silver Mount Zion), Howard Billerman (ex-Arcade Fire), Stew Crookes ($100), Edwin Huizinga (Mars Volta), Adam Kinner (Marathon), Elspeth Poole, and Tyler Belluz.
Ultimately, the Wooden Sky is the sound of collective will; a group of individuals coming together to forge something bigger. It’s a sound that started in a garage in downtown Toronto and found its way into the hands one of the most respected studios and producers in North America. With a new record and new friends to help them play it, the Wooden Sky are poised to push “folk rock” into something new, exciting, and earnest.