“Nail up the windows and close up the doors, Good Time Charlie’s is no more,” laments the Deep Dark Woods’ lead-singer, Ryan Boldt, in the opening line to their newest single.
After being nominated by the public and then contacted by the CBC, the Woods were challenged to write a song for the Great Canadian Song Quest about Regina’s infamous Good Time Charlie’s (otherwise known as the Plains Hotel), which has now, for the last time, closed its doors. The song is called, “Charlie’s (Is Coming Down).”
“Ryan played there a long time ago,” said drummer and vocalist Lucas Geotz, while waiting by their busted-up tour van in Lethbridge, AB.
“I’ve never been there. Chris and Jeff and Ryan went down there right before it closed. And now someone is doing a documentary on the place. They are tearing it down and putting up condos — of course.”
Since writing “Charlie’s” the Woods performed along with 13 other popular Canadian bands for the lights and cameras at CBC’s Glen Gould Theatre in Toronto. Geotz said they had a blast playing for around 400 people in the theatre and listening to the songs the other groups and artists came up with for the contest.
“It was basically just a concert. There was no winner — or, everyone’s a winner,” laughed Geotz. “I really liked Oh Susanna’s song ”˜Tough City’ about Tofino, BC. It’s kind of interesting: Tofino used to be a working-class fishing town and now it’s a big tourist centre. (The song is) about the clash between the different sides of that city.”
The Woods are releasing “Charlie’s” as a single at Louis’ Pub on Mar. 5. It’s the first large-scale show in Saskatoon for the Woods since they played the Broadway Theatre in September, and tickets should go fast.
“We’re going to play a good long time, keep it simple — no guest or anything — and we got some new songs to play,” said Goetz.
Fans of vinyl should be pleased by the new release, a two-song 45 featuring the title track and a B-side from the Winter Hours sessions.
“(Side B) of the record is a tribute song for Mississippi Sheiks,” said Geotz. “They were a 1920s country-blues band, real pioneers of country-blues. They were a duo, a guitar player and a fiddle player. ”˜Sweet Maggie’ is the song. It ended up being a bonus track when you download Winter Hours. Now it’ll be on vinyl, but it comes with a download code if you don’t have a record player.”
The single will have to tide fans over until the next album, which is currently in the song-writing phase. Geotz suggested the new album would be moving in a slightly different direction than Winter Hours.
“I’m not sure how it will sound, but less folky I think. (Our past producer) Steve Dawson has a signature sound on the records he producers”¦ which is great; he’s awesome! But we like to keep changing the sound to keep things interesting.”
photo: Patrick Schmidt / Jody Stewart