Hillbilly Highway – Prairie Roots Revue rolls into Winnipeg

Deep Dark Woods @ Harvest Moon 2011

by Sheldon Birnie

On Monday, December 12, four prairie songwriters will descend on the Park Theatre to pick some tunes for all of y’all. The Prairie Roots Revue is cruising the Highway from Saskatoon to Winnipeg, then back across Saskatchewan, hitting smaller towns like Dauphin, Gravelbourg, and Swift Current along side larger centers like the ‘Peg.

The brainchild of Saskatoon’s Zachary Lucky, the Revue also features Winnipeg’s own Carly Maicher, Victoria, BC, by way of Regina’s Northcote, and Ryan Boldt of the Deep Dark Woods. Boldt took a couple minutes to speak to me from Georgia, where he was visiting a pal between the east and west coast legs of the DDWs current tour in support of their amazing The Place I Left Behind.

“Ah, well, I’ve been friends with Zachary for a little while now,” Boldt said. “He’s always wanted to do a little tour [like this] and it’s never really worked out, but I had some time off around Christmastime this year, so it seems to have worked out this time.”

“I had the idea of doing the Prairie Roots Revue, or something like it for quite some time,” Zachary Lucky explained in an email. “There was something about the idea of getting a group of like minded and talented individuals, putting together a show and hitting the road — one vehicle, one stage — that I really liked.”

Lucky brought the idea up to Northcote at this year’s Ness Creek Music Festival in Saskatchewan, and he was on board. Lucky had already been riding the Highway for the better part of the year with Carly Maicher, so Boldt proved to be the final piece of the puzzle.

“At the same time I had been talking to Ryan about how we should do some shows together,” Lucky says. “I was really into the songs he was writing and thought it would be a good fit.”

“I’ll do some Deep Dark Woods songs, I’ll do some traditional songs, and songs that’ll probably be DDW songs eventually,” Boldt says, speaking to what the audience can expect from his contribution to the Revue.

Boldt is no stranger to the Highway. Deep Dark Woods are a hard touring act, and they’re back on the road — again supporting Robert Earl Keen — early in the new year.

“We usually go on the road for two or three weeks, then come home for a week or two, then go back out,” he explains. “It’s nice. I like it, I like it a lot. I couldn’t stay at home, working a job… I just can’t do that sort of thing.”

Boldt is also a big-time hockey fan, and a die-hard Oilers’ fan at that. However, one of his favourite players is our own #33, Dustin Byfuglien.

“He’s so good. He’s awesome,” praised Boldt when our conversation drifted to the inevitable realm of hockey. “I loved him on Chicago, and I love him on Winnipeg. He’s given me a lot of points. He started slow, but now he’s picking it up. I hope he becomes a forward at some point, like he was in Chicago. He just greases them in, he just sits in front of the net and greases ‘em in. He can play anything, he’s an incredible player, I love him.”

With the Jets at home the next evening hosting the Wild, maybe Buff’ll make his way down to the Park Theatre on the 12th? Stranger things have happened on the Hillbilly Highway…


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