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The second day of Newport rolled in as the sailboats set out into the soft grey skies over the Harbor on Sunday morning. Canadian alternative country band, Deep Dark Woods, took the Harbor side stage first to ease the audience into their second full day of the festival.
Front man Ryan Blodt, guitarist Burke Barlow, bassist Chris Mason, drummer Lucas Goetz, and Geoff Hilhorst on keys took the stage to an already packed tent and were welcomed by a roaring applause from the audience. Originally from Saskatoon, Deep Dark Woods’ tracks tend to have a playful feel to them – making them a perfect introduction to the day. With a few albums under their belts, the band’s set featured many tracks off of their recent release, Winter Hours.
Winter Hours was produced by famed and Juno Award winning producer Steven Dawson when the band recorded the album in Vancouver. The album explores a great deal of raw emotion and showcases the ever-changing sound of the band. In the past, Deep Dark Woods has won Best Roots Group at the Western Canadian Music Awards in 2009 and Ensemble of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards that same year.
What I love and have noticed about Newport is how many patrons show up bright and early not only for the main stage. Every festival will have a stampede rush to secure the front of the stage for big headliners. Yet at Newport, no tent is left barren at the first sets of the day.
Deep Dark Woods put on a great performance with electrifying solos from Blodt and Hilhorst on guitar and keys respectively. Each time a solo began, the crowd livened up even more. By the end of the forty-minute set – the entire tent was on their feet for a standing ovation! I can’t think of a better way to start the morning.
Stand out tracks included the beautiful and somber “The Sun Never Shines” and “How Can I Try” – both off of Winter Hours. The band had great synergy with one another and the Canadian rockers’ set came to a close far too soon. The day is young here for the final day of Newport and there is a lot in store for this afternoon so stay tuned to wers.org for more live updates on all the happenings.