For anyone who went to (or is in) University or College, you know how integral the local student stomping ground is to your school experience. For Ryerson students in the early 2000s, the place to hook up with that guy you’ve been eyeing in the hallway, or get the balls to buy the hot blonde a beer, was a place called Reilly’s. I’m not sure if it’s still around, but for anyone who went to Ryerson, this was the place to go on a Thursday night – a place to let go of any inhibitions you may have had. So when Gavin Gardiner started writing songs for a school project with some friends called Friday Morning’s Regret, it was a fitting name for life at that time.

But after everyone graduated and found new watering holes, Gavin decided to make his school project a real attempt at making it in the Canadian music scene. Friday Morning’s Regret had some line up changes and turned into The Wooden Sky.

I had heard a lot of buzz about The Wooden Sky and didn’t realize that it was the same band from my drunken haze called university life. I grabbed their 2009 release If I Don’t Come Home You’ll Know I’m Gone and played it on my iPod, in my car and at the cottage… you could say I liked it.

I love the flow of songs on the album. Gavin effortlessly goes from a seriously personal ballad to saloon-style country song and it all works. Even though the band is not sure what to think of the Alt-Country label they have been given, it’s fitting to their sound.

Gavin has said that as the band gained more recognition and started getting reviews it was a weird feeling for him because even though they were good reviews, he realized how many people had insight into his most personal feelings. Kind of like leaving your most intimate diary open on a park bench for anyone to read. It’s a very personal experience for some songwriters, and even though Gavin had his fears of letting the world in on his life, I feel like it made for an album with such honesty and sincerity that you feel like longtime friends by the last song.

So, now that I was feeling emotionally invested in this album I wanted to see them perform live. I started searching for tour dates and live performances. Then I remembered a friend telling me about a local Hamilton guy who had a website of live, impromptu videos of some bands I might like. I went to and started searching. I found a video of this trio shot by the site’s creator Mitch Fillion in what looks like a home studio. That’s the great thing about these videos, you see the musicians as artists, loving to play even if it’s only to a guy and his camera. There’s no question that they are truly passionate about their craft

I love seeing bands live, but even then, there is an element of performance – they are, after all, putting on a show. But after watching these videos you feel like a fly on the wall in their everyday lives – a very entertained fly. I think this intimate feeling comes from the places these videos are shot. Mitch says that he lets the musicians choose the venue where they will shoot – whether it be a kitchen, bedroom or street corner and this choice is what makes these videos much more than just a recorded show.

There is something about an acoustic set that hits you in the heart and sends the beat through your veins. Even though they are playing essentially the same songs as the album, the goose-bump factor hits the roof when the guitar strumming gets louder and harder, and the eyes close, forgetting there is an audience.

For more videos of amazing bands (most of them local) be sure to check out, but make sure to keep your day open because once you start watching it’s almost impossible to stop.

The Wooden Sky is playing the Casbah in Hamilton on November 2nd. Click here to buy tickets.

Does anyone already have tickets to this show? I’ve never seen them live and am planning to go, I would love to hear about what I might expect. Or if you’ve never heard them, let me know what you think!

Oh My God (it still means a lot to me) – The Wooden Sky
[audio:|titles=The Wooden Sky – Oh My God (it still means a lot to me)]

* If you are a member or manager of the above band and you would like your track removed, please contact us and we will swiftly oblige. Fans – new or old – please support these bands by using your coffee money to buy their records.