Touring the US and Canada in support of The Sheepdogs, Winnipeg’s Boy Golden is finally enjoying the opportunity to share music with a much wider audience. Having first heard the Canadian radio hit “KD and Lunch Meat” last year on SXM radio, along with a unique cover of the Tom T. Hall classic, “The Year Clayton Delaney Died,” this was an artist that landed slap-bang on my listening radar.
Arriving recently in the Philadelphia suburbs to perform at the historic Ardmore Music Hall, Boy Golden (with full band in tow – unique for an opening artist) was eager to address the rapidly filling room. “Good evening, Philly,” he shared. “I’m Boy Golden and The Church of Better Daze, and we’re taking you back. Back to Canada. Back to Manitoba.”
Dig around a little on the internet and you’ll soon learn that not only is The Church of Better Daze the name of Boy Golden’s debut album, but also doubles as a real congregational institution he founded as his own kind of place of worship (involves the ‘green plant’ variety of enlightenment). “Gotta roll it round ‘tween your fingertips / Shit this fresh, you’re gonna feel it stick / Tight along the sides and loose up on the end / And if you screw that up just try, try again / ‘Cause nobody complains we are all the same / At the Church of Better Daze.”
Signed to Six Shooter Records, I was naturally curious when learning that GDW pals Joel Plaskett and Thomas Stajcer mixed this debut album – and even more so when seeing contributions from both Kris Ulrich and Joey Landreth in the album liner notes. Hearing tunes such as “Baby Blue” and “A Little Space” on the radio following that initial discovery, Boy Golden was fast-tracked to our list of artists to see live – and last week in Philadelphia, we made sure not to miss this outstanding 45-minute opening set.
Opening with a pair of album tracks, “A Little Space,” and “Something To Work Towards,” the attention of the room was very quickly earned. “So, we’re from Winnipeg. Many of you won’t know where that is, so I’m just gonna go, Go Jets,” Boy Golden announced. “We have sports teams, that is true. The thing about Winnipeg is that you can spend so much time there in the cold and you end up just being trapped indoors a lot, and you end up making music, which is fine.” Pausing to appreciate the audience response, he would continue to introduce “Aging Mr. Riley,” the first of a few new compositions shared on this evening. “So, this song came out of a period of boredom when I was trying to write some new material. I just wanted to make something fresh that had a little bit of everything. A little bit of mystery, a little bit of storytelling.”
Another unreleased track, “Mountain Road” would be shared, which saw Boy Golden accompanied on vocals by good friend and collaborator Fontine Beavis – before yielding the lead vocals to Fontine for a cover version of the Emmylou Harris classic, “Rhythm Guitar.” Returning to a pair of album cuts to end on a high (well, not literally on a high – our cannabis laws are not that liberal here in PA), Boy Golden performed the hit single that brought his music to my ears. “KD and Lunch Meat is one of our songs that people know about in Canada, and it’s a bit confusing in the States,” he shared. “It’s about eating cheap foods to get you by. You probably had KD the same way as we do? It’s Kraft macaroni, [that] is what I’m talking about.”
- A Little Space
- Something To Work Towards
- Aging Mr. Riley (*Unreleased*)
- Smoke On The Breeze
- Mountain Road (*Unreleased*)
- Rhythm Guitar (Emmylou Harris cover)
- Blue Hills (*Unreleased*)
- KD and Lunch Meat
- Church Of Better Daze