Gentlemen of the Woods double your pleasure with lyric videos for Rusty Rails and My Dear Old Friend — premiering exclusively on Tinnitist.
Taken from the Ottawa roots quintet’s recently released sophomore album This Great Unknown, the two songs showcase the young band’s impressive strengths as a musical ensemble and as evocative songwriters. Twangy and driving, first single Rusty Rails delivers a classic train song where your troubles travel just as fast as you do. Mellower and more personal, My Dear Old Friend speaks to longing for those who you’ve lost touch with — especially those who weren’t in the best space the last time you spoke.
The band’s straightforward, heartfelt approach is no accident. “Our first record, Radiance, was all about telling people ‘We’re here. And this is our sound,’ ” they explained in a press release. “With This Great Unknown, we wanted to really show people what we were capable of in terms of songwriting. The record feels like a collection of singles, but upon deeper listening the themes of nostalgia, regret and determination in the face of misfortune keep coming to mind.
“We all bring songs to our weekly rehearsals, we tinker with them together, and when they’re for public consumption, either in concert or in recording, we’ve each put our stamp on it. When we sat down with producer Dave Draves he encouraged us to take the same ‘live off the floor’ approach as the first record. He wanted to capture our ‘jams’ and then layer in our harmonies and additional instrumentation where appropriate. In a sense we were hoping to capture the perfection in the imperfections. So what you hear on our records is what you can expect when you see us on stage. Old school recording to complement our old-school sound.
“With two of us alternating on lead vocals, and the rest of us backing them, each song brings its own sense of surprise and innate variety. From Geoff’s outlaw baritone to Doug’s smooth tenor, it’s tough to pin the band down with any single influence or genre. We’re country when the song calls for it, and folk-infused when the song calls for it too. This Great Unknown is a collection of songs that weaves together a lifetime of moments, memories and wishes. While we seem to have arrived at a post-album age, this release unintentionally became a journal whose biggest themes lean heavily on reflection and nostalgia. And also, on what comes next.”