Deck the Halls with boughs of Blackberry Wood

The temperatures drop, the snow falls and party season is upon us. It’s the time of year where we gather with our families, both factual and found. If there was ever a band that could bring out the jolly feeling in us, it is Blackberry Wood. Hailing from Vancouver, this carnival-esque group of ruffians demands that we don our craziest festive frocks, tip a glass of cheer and dance a jig or two.

Blending stand-up bass, banjo, accordion, sax and guitar, along with drums and Theremin, Blackberry Wood delivers a lively brand of music that nods to the roving circuses of yore. Cabaret. Gypsy punk. Alt country. The band’s album names like Travelling Horse Opry (2010) and Strong Man vs Russian Bear (2012) gives a strong indication of what to expect if you’ve never experienced Blackberry Wood before. Touring incessantly, the band has played all kinds of venues, once playing an after-school program and then a bar later that night.

“When we played the kid’s show, all of the kids were running around the gym and girls were chasing the boys and the boys were chasing the girls,” Wood says, “and then later on that night we played a club show, and it was almost exactly the same, but they were running around the dance floor, but the girls were chasing the boys and the boys were chasing the girls. It was very similar. I am hoping it’s inspired by the music we play, but I am hoping that it’s inspired by a few drinks as well. They’re both sugars.”

Blackberry Wood has also performed Glastonbury Festival three times since its first album in 2007, an experience that informs its live performance for the better.

“You just take home certain things as well, especially going to England,” Kris Wood explains. “We’ve been there quite a bit, and just experiencing a party like Glastonbury Festival, being inspired by all of the other artists and performers – because it’s full, jam packed full of all kinds of different performances all of the time. It’s not just music – even though there’s gotta be a hundred music stages – there’s circus tents, full on circus tents, and all kinds of spoken word, and all kinds of strange things going on. And there’s roving theatre all of the time. Constantly. So it’s just being in that environment, so you bring back a lot.”

The band is currently working on another recording – due out early in the New Year. For this fourth album, Blackberry Wood is trying to capture a more personal experience for its listeners. Strong Man really focused on the live show, but as Wood explains, that means that the album doesn’t translate as well when played for an audience of one through a set of headphones.

“The new album is more like a recording that is a great private, personal experience of the band,” Wood says, “I am thinking more about that, about the personal experience, rather than just trying to capture the live show. Just trying of making it more of a personal experience and capture those parts, more melodic parts of our band in the recording that we’re working on now. It’s a different approach and it’s a different thought process, which is amazing.”

Dress in your finest and dance on down to the Royal for Blackberry Wood on December 12.