Published Jul 28, 2014Having previously been signed to Black Box, Toronto roots rockers the Wooden Sky are keeping things in the family with their latest release. Now the heads of their own label, Chelsea Records, the band have announced their return with Let's Be Ready, which will arrive via their newly minted imprint on September 2.
The Wooden Sky worked on the record — the full-length follow-up to 2012's Every Child a Daughter, Every Moon a Sun — at various Toronto facilities, including frontman Gavin Gardiner's own garage studio. This marked the first time the band had made an album in their hometown in six years. It was produced by Chris Stringer with the emphasis on capturing the group's stripped-down live energy.
"In order to do that we made some pretty detailed demos in our studio and then went out and played the songs live," Gardiner tells Exclaim! "Quickly things that weren't important fell by the wayside, and we came back with something much leaner, meaner and raw."
As to the title Let's Be Ready, Gardiner summed it up thusly in a statement: "Within the band, we talk often of how ugly the world can be and our responsibility to make something beautiful. And when it comes down to being on tour and playing shows, we're only in your town for the night so we figure let's make it a night to remember. That's where our album title Let's Be Ready comes from, that need to embrace life and all that you've built within it."
In the midst of Let's Be Ready, the Wooden Sky also underwent some lineup changes, with Gardiner (vocals/guitar), Andrew Kekewich (drums) and Simon Walker (multiinstrumentalist) now making up the group's core lineup. And although longtime bassist Andrew Wyatt recently left the band, he took part in making this album.
"That was a pretty key ingredient in really capturing that feeling of us playing live," Gardiner reflects in the interview. "The four of us have been playing together for so long now that there's an understanding that's pretty hard to explain. We were on stage in Winnipeg together recently, and I remember feeling the energy of the band rising up together. It was like a wave rose up behind me and threw me into the air, carrying me along higher and faster than I could have imagined."
For a taste of Let's Be Ready's live energy, listen to the premiere of the new album track "Saturday Night" below. Gardiner says, "The majority of the song fits with this idea moving back and forth between now and forever."
Of course, that's the album cover above.
Once the record is out, the Wooden Sky will be touring across Canada, from mid-September all the way to the later part of October. You can see the complete schedule below.
They will then spend November and December working on their next album using an 8-track tape machine Gardiner recently purchased. They're also going to keep pressing ahead with their new label.
"Between the studio and the label we are attempting to create an environment, for ourselves and others, that gives people a chance to make records that they actually want to make," Gardiner says. "Put some power back in the hands of an artist to allow them to make mistakes, fall down, fuck up and not feel like this is their only shot at making a record."
09/12 Peterborough, ON - Red Dog Tavern
09/16 Burnstown, ON - Neat Cafe
09/17 Montreal, QC - Pop Montreal @ Sala Rossa
09/18 Sudbury, ON - Townehouse
09/20 Thunder Bay, ON - Crocks
09/22 Swift Current, SK - Lyric Theatre
09/23 Regina, SK - Artesian On 13th
09/24 Edmonton, AB - Starlite
09/25 Banff, AB - The Club (banff Centre)
09/26 Nelson, BC - Spirit Bar (hume Hotel)
09/27 Vancouver, BC - Biltmore
09/29 Victoria, BC - 9one9
10/2 Saskatoon, SK - Amigos
10/4 Winnipeg, MB - Wecc
10/9 Kingston, ON – The Isabel At Queen's University
10/11 Hamilton, ON - Dundas Valley Montessori School
10/16 Guelph, ON - Vinyl
10/17 Toronto, ON - Lee's Palace
10/18 Toronto, ON - Lee's Palace
10/21 Moncton, NB - Tide & Boar
10/22 Fredericton, NB - The Capital
10/24 Charlottetown, PEI - Trailside Inn
10/25 Quebec City, QC - Le Cercle