Hillbilly Highway – Ryan Boldt on the dangers of the Highway, and Winnipeg Folk Fest 2014


by Sheldon Birnie

There’s no secret that Saskatoon’s Deep Dark Woods are a favourite of ours out here on the Highway. As such, we’re very fired up as the Winnipeg Folk Fest starts to creep up on us. I spoke with Ryan Boldt of the DDWs a month or so ago, and if you’ve seen the June/July 2014 issue of Stylus on stands, you may have read our feature. But not everything made it to print, and some of the best stuff was left on the cutting room floor. As I continue to listen to the Deep Dark Woods excellent Jubilee on repeat while I check my camping gear for all its essentials, here’s a bit of our conversation…

Stylus: The last time I’d set up to speak with you guys was before Sled Island last year. You guys were trapped by the flooding in Canmore. Can you tell me a little how that went down for you? It seemed to be such a crazy situation…
Ryan Boldt: We were touring with this band from Detroit, Frontier Ruckus. Our old manager was managing them, and we thought it would be a good mix. I think it was their first show, in Canmore, we played it and it went great. We were looking forward to going to Lethbridge the next night. It was raining pretty hard, but I didn’t think anything of it. I’d seen lots of rain like that before. I woke up in the morning, about eight in the morning ready to hit the road. Chris [Mason] had left the night before to see his girlfriend, and he texted me saying the roads were closed out of Canmore but they might be open later in the evening. It got to about 4 o’clock in the afternoon, and we kind of knew we were not going to make the show. And we didn’t make the show the next night, and we didn’t make the show the next night after that. We were trapped there for about four days. I felt really bad for those guys from Detroit, they spent all those days and money driving from Detroit to meet us there, and missed about half the tour because of it. Musicians aren’t very rich people, unless you’re whoever pop-star. And of course they had to pay to get into the country to get their visa and everything. They basically got screwed over. I felt so bad. I mean, it sucks for us, and especially the American guys. It was terrible. But a lot of people had it worse off than we did. We missed four shows, which is a lot of money we missed out on, but we didn’t have anything damaged or anything like that.

Stylus: You guys have played the Winnipeg Folk Fest before. What are your thoughts, or what do you remember when you think of the Winnipeg Folk Fest?
RB: I think it was 2009 or 2008 that we played. I just remember having a blast at the parties, the after jams and stuff like that. Just getting to meet people that I respected. We were kind of new, we’d maybe been around for 4 years or something then, but had never played a major festival. It was nice. I just remember it still being one of my favourite festivals, and I’m pumped about playing it this year. Kacy & Clayton are playing, and Clayton’s in the band now, so I’m excited for that too. Everytime I see them play, it’s amazing. I hope we get on a workshop with them, that’ll be fun.

Do not miss the Deep Dark Woods at the Winnipeg Folk Fest this year. It’s been a while since they’ve been through this way, and you never know when they’ll make it back again…

Keep posted here online for the full feature in the coming weeks, or search out a copy of the June/July Stylus available for FREE on newsstands across the Heart of the Continent.


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