Floods and plagues, ghosts and slaughter: woe to those who populate the songs of The Deep Dark Woods’ new album Yarrow. A gentle summer breeze swings the gallows ropes, flowers bloom callously on lovers’ graves. These anthems are definitely not from Eden.
In Yarrow, there’s a juicy unease to frontman Boldt’s presence, as if a new door has opened to let loose the weirdness. In place of the freewheelin’ jammy vibe of previous efforts, the new album has a darker, stranger tenor. “Fallen Leaves,” a song that captures the stinging salinity of loss and the grimy, scuzzed-up “Drifting On A Summer’s Night,” occupy creepier, spookier corners of the folk world. “The Birds Will Stop Their Singing” and “Teardrops Fell” are slow-burning eulogies that demonstrate the potency of Boldt’s distinctly mournful vocals.
Yarrow was borne in a fever – scarlet fever, to be medically specific. A disease of the last century is a fitting backdrop for songs that dig bare handed into the loam to unearth the corpses of old English folk and country blues. After a five-year hiatus and band reconfiguration, Yarrow is The Deep Dark Woods reimagined by leadman Ryan Boldt. Produced by Shuyler Jansen and Ryan Boldt, the new album also features touring companions Kacy & Clayton.
Boldt writes in a deep tradition of bleak and forlorn storytelling, drawing lines from Ireland to Tennessee, the Oxford Girl to Folsom Prison. Since 2012’s Jubilee, Boldt’s outlook has become decidedly more macabre. In these new songs, he taps into a rich vein of gothic surrealism that aligns with some of the great murder balladeers of our time.
The Deep Dark Woods have developed an international following with particular success in the Americana realm, nominated alongside Alabama Shakes and Dawes for Emerging Artist of the Year at the 2012 Americana Music Awards. Originally from Saskatchewan and now based on the west coast, The Deep Dark Woods fuse spooky prairie folk with Texas country blues and California psychedelia.