Published Aug 19, 2014The most recent show that Julie Doiron and the Wooden Stars played was opening a New Year's Day concert organized by the Tragically Hip at the Air Canada Centre in 2000.
"We played 20 minutes," Doiron recalls in an Exclaim! interview. "It was the fastest 20 minutes ever. That was the last performance we did together."
Anyone who missed the band during the initial small handful of shows they played in support of the Juno Award-winning Julie Doiron and the Wooden Stars is undoubtedly stoked to see them together between August 20 and 23 for respective shows at Arboretum Folk Festival, the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto, Montreal's La Sala Rosa, and the Peterborough Folk Festival.
"It's the 15th anniversary of the album's release," Doiron says when asked why the band are getting back together now. "I ran into [drummer] Andrew McCormack last fall, and said I thought it'd be fun to do some shows. Then a couple of months ago I got an email from him saying that everyone was into it. It all came together super fast. I'm so excited, but that's why we're doing it — just to celebrate the record."
The Wooden Stars were an excellent band that hailed from Ottawa and made most of their records in the 1990s. Of the original members, Michael Feuerstack has been the most publicly prolific as a writer and performer. Since the collaborative release with Doiron in 1999 — her first work with a new band after Eric's Trip disbanded — the Wooden Stars have only released one other album, 2009's wonderful People Are Different.
The fact that Doiron, whose last solo record was 2012's So Many Days, got a band back together during their indefinite hiatus is remarkable enough. It's all the sweeter given how much fun they've all had planning these upcoming shows.
"We're all trying to pick a cover song," Doiron says. "Actually it's been a few weeks and I haven't heard from anyone. For a while there, everyone was sending in suggestions. I'm not gonna say any of them because they were all really cool, fun ideas and I just realized I have some songs I have to learn. Some are a little ambitious so I better get to work."
Doiron has hinted at slowing down musically in the last couple of years for personal reasons, but beyond the Wooden Stars gigs, she's currently in a new Sackville-based band called Weird Lines, featuring C.L. McLaughlin, Jon McKiel, James Anderson, Michael C. Duguay, and Chris Meaney. It's a cool lineup for sure, but since she is reuniting with the Wooden Stars for shows, have she and the band discussed making a follow-up to their acclaimed debut record?
"No but I didn't even think of that!" Doiron exclaims, laughing. "All we've spoken about is these shows. I don't like to plan too far ahead but I feel like there could be potential. You just got me excited — I didn't even think of the idea of trying to record another project with them. That's a great idea. It's not even that shocking you said that! I haven't really been writing much lately. I only have two new songs written right now.
"I am really excited and sort of surprised that it's happening. It's interesting because when we suggested the idea, a few people were like 'But you don't have a new album out or anything; I don't think it's gonna work.' I don't know that this is the kind of thing where we need a new album out to necessarily go out and do. I'm just excited to get together and play music.
"And last January, [Julie Doiron and the Wooden Stars] came out on vinyl for the first time so that's exciting, to be able to do this tour in support of that."
Listen to this entire interview with Julie Doiron on the Kreative Kontrol with Vish Khanna podcast.
Julie Doiron and the Wooden Stars tour dates:
08/20 Ottawa, ON – Arboretum Music Festival
08/21 Toronto, ON – Horseshoe Tavern
08/22 Montreal, QC – La Sala Rosa
08/23 Peterborough, ON – Peterborough Folk Festival