As we previously reported, acclaimed Toronto, ON-based roots rockers Cuff the Duke are gearing up to release their fourth album proper, Way Down Here. Along with doling out a fresh batch of tunes, the release marks the inauguration of the group's label, Noble Recording Co., which will put out the record on September 8, with Universal Music Canada helping out with distribution.
Cuff's previous two albums, 2005's self-titled effort and 2007's Sidelines of the City, both came out via Hayden's Hardwood Records label. Singer/guitarist Wayne Petti explained the band's situation to Exclaim! recently, saying, "Hayden had a lot of things going on in his life, and he decided he wouldn't continue with Hardwood Records, as far as putting out other people's records. So both Basia [Bulat] and Cuff the Duke needed to find deals in Canada. We ultimately decided to do our own label, similar to what Hayden has."
And while many Canadian bands sometime struggle finding label representation outside the Great White North, international interest in Way Down Here is already strong.
"We have a U.S. deal in place even before it comes out in Canada," Petti says. "We signed to the Ernest Jennings Recording Co. in Brooklyn. They'll put it out in January and we're already talking to some labels in Europe. The label in the States signed us based on the record. They hadn't even seen us live, and that spoke volumes to us."
Way Down Here was recorded and mixed by Greg Keelor (Blue Rodeo) at his Ontario farmhouse, primarily this past January. The work was completed in just 12 days, and the sessions were far more spontaneous than for earlier CTD albums.
"Most records we've ever done take at least six months," says Petti. "With Greg, we went to his farm with no pre-production. We'd start each day, pick a song, discuss it, arrange it and talk about how we'd do it, then go upstairs, as the studio is on the top floor of his house, and just do it. It was exciting. Also, it was eight tracks and one-inch tape, so it was a very old-school sound. Greg had this beautiful piano and organ downstairs in a side room, and most of the time it was recorded with one room mic in position. It really made us feel this was the way they used to make records."
In support of the new record, Cuff the Duke begin an extensive cross-Canada tour on September 12 in Windsor, concluding in Fredericton on October 31. Joining the four-piece on the tour will be East coaster Brent Randall.
"He is going to play keyboards and a little guitar. Brent is fantastic. He can sing really well, play guitar, piano and keyboards really well, and is a great guy to hang out with. We're pumped about it," says Petti.
In addition to Way Down Here , Cuff the Duke will soon release a seven-inch single, featuring two new songs not included on the album: "This Is Life" and "Red Shoes." Half of the limited edition run of 500 will be pressed on coloured vinyl, and it's being released on Eric Warner's label, We Are Busy Bodies.
In the meantime, a full list of Cuff the Duke's upcoming Canadian shows can be found here.