Andrew Brown, Artistic Director Islands Folk Festival
"The Burying Ground were a crowd favourite at this year’s festival, and are personally one of my favourite bands. They really offer something special and unique with their “old timey” music and it resonates incredibly well with every age group, unlike very few other bands. They are the whole package—tight and solid musicians, and fantastic to work with."
"A saw, washboard as percussion, upright bass and trumpet, and Woody’s growly voice—it wins me over every time. The Burying Ground’s performance is dynamic and intoxicating in a prohibition era kind of way. Few people will be able to walk away from their performance without becoming a devoted fan."
David Morrison of Folk Radio Uk's Top Ten Albums of 2017
"Taking vintage blues and jazz, swing, old-timey country and folk as their templates, this super-cool duo pens authentic sounding material that appears as if plucked from the Alan Lomax archives, but also bears the gritty qualities of their punk rock background. "
David Morrison of Folk Radio Uk's Top Ten Albums of 2017
"Taking vintage blues and jazz, swing, old-timey country and folk as their templates, this super-cool duo pens authentic sounding material that appears as if plucked from the Alan Lomax archives, but also bears the gritty qualities of their punk rock background.
Interview with Jewish Independent
with Cynthia Ramsay Dec 1, 2017
"Contrary to what you might expect, given the band’s name, there is much joy in the Burying Ground. Woody Forster and Devora Laye obviously love what they do, and it comes through in their music, their performances, their promotional photos and even in their responses to an email interview. So, from where does the name come?
“The name came from the Blind Lemon Jefferson song ‘One Kind Favor,’ where he uses the line to describe his resting place,” explained Forster. “I also see it as maybe a metaphor for us finding this music for ourselves that has essentially been buried and forgotten in popular music today, and we are trying to draw from that place and explore those musical styles again.”"
Folk Radio UK Review
written by David Morrison June 14, 2017
From a cultural perspective, one of the many great things about living where I do (Vancouver Island) is that the musical landscape is rich with thriving scenes dedicated to preserving the sounds of yesteryear. Whether covering beloved standards, penning original material, or both, here and across the Georgia Strait there are scores of musicians, like Vancouver band The Burying Ground, that draw inspiration and stylistic chops from the roots music of bygone eras. And my world is all the better for it because for around the last three years I have been listening to a huge amount of vintage jazz (Sidney Bechet is playing as I type) and blues, a fair proportion of it approaching a century old.
Emerging from a punk rock background and a blues string band named The Dire Wolves, The Burying Ground trades in authentically delivered, rustic old-timey country-blues, and swinging, jazz-flecked folk music. In all honesty, beyond this you need little in the way of descriptors from me, as a look at the influences listed on the band’s website presents a rounded summation of what The Burying Ground is all about: Blind Blake, Bessie Smith, the Reverend Gary Davis, Memphis Minnie, Big Bill Broonzy and Jimmie Rodgers are all cited, and other unlisted artists – such as Louis Armstrong – spring to mind when listening to this eponymous new release. These inspirations considered, I will take an educated guess that the band named themselves after the Mississippi Fred McDowell song, Standing at the Burying Ground.
The Burying Ground is the trio’s second album in six months, following on from the self-explanatorily titled Country Blues and Rags, and their third since June 2015, when the 15-song Big City Blues debut was issued. Across the three releases Woody Forster (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Devora Laye (vocals, washboard, singing saw) and Joseph Lubinsky-Mast (double bass) have established a sound that, should the fuzz, crackle and hiss of a well-loved 78 RPM record be added, would feel directly transported from the juke joints and speakeasies of the Prohibition era. This is beautifully realised, pure roots music created in the same spirit of contemporaries such as the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, The Crow Quill Night Owls, or fellow Vancouverites, Petunia & the Vipers. And, frankly, I cannot get enough of this wonderful stuff!
Like the previous two releases, The Burying Ground is wrapped in beautiful and period-appropriate artwork by ‘Yann,’ and as far as the musical content is concerned I would not have been at all surprised if informed that any one of the all-original songs or guitar rags dated back to the era the band aims to accurately sonically recreate. And to assist them in doing so on this album the trio has enlisted some heavyweight contributors, namely fiddler Trent Freeman of 2017 Juno winners, The Fretless; trumpeter Jack Garton (leader of the Demon Squadron); Josh Doherty on harmonica, and backing singer Candice Roberts (of the Myrtle Family Band, in which Laye also performs).
There are stunning moments aplenty here, beginning with the opener, Come Back Home, featuring Forster’s slightly husky vocal and loose, easy guitar picking, and Garton’s sassy muted trumpet, as the clickety-clacks of Laye’s washboard gently propel the track along percussively. Freeman’s silky fiddle stars on the following Old Wolf, then – as she does on the later Mean Spirit Blues and beautiful closer, Longing for Home – Laye takes centre stage for lead vocal for the fabulous Wild Woman Blues, also notable for Garton’s sexy, rasping trumpet.
On Howlin’ Wind Rag the wind in question is amply represented by Laye’s quavering saw, blowing away behind Forster’s deft picking of the jaunty tune. Next up, although a stark, haunting blues number that in its sombre mood is diametrically opposed to the rest of the album, the six-minute Death Don’t Hear No One’s Prayers is my personal favourite here. The gravitas of Forster’s vocal delivery atop Laye’s spooky saw and Doherty’s mournful harmonica combine for a powerful experience that, in respect of its centrally sequenced position, serves as the perfect fulcrum of the album. An entire collection of this darker blues material from The Burying Ground would be something to relish.
In fact, dark or otherwise I will look forward to anything The Burying Ground offer up from here on in. While they may be devoted to the precious music of a long gone golden era, they still have an awful lot to offer the present and future, as music this good is evidently timeless.
BC Musician Magazine
written by Dave O Rama July 6, 2017
On the heels of their extended play of historic covers Country Blues & Rags, released back in December, Vancouver traditionalists The Burying Ground quickly follow up with a superb long player filled to the lip with an impressive offering of new original tunes that can easily measure up to the classics of almost a century ago. Built around core players Woody Forster (Vocals and Guitar) and Devora Laye (Vocals, Washboard, and Saw), The Burying Ground lay out a feast of southern old timey acoustic gems that pay homage to southern Americana and goodtime blues inspired by the ghosts of Charley Patton, Memphis Minnie, and The Mississippi Sheiks.
You can almost smell the leather and whiskey in these compositions and it’s plain as day that the band’s passion for stripped down delta ballads and tar heel tappers comes from somewhere deep in the soul of these gifted songwriters. There’s fine accompaniment here from fellow grounders Joseph Lubinsky-Mast on the doghouse bass and harp-man Josh Doherty, and added seasonings from guests Trent Freeman on fiddle and multi-instrumentalist Jack Garton dishing up splashes of muted trumpet that is so well realised you’d swear you’ve been transported back in time to the brothels of Storyville.
Filled with elegant musicianship, authentic themes, heartfelt vocals (including a guest appearance from Candice Roberts on the closing track), The Burying Ground deliver the goods with heart and soul and affection. Beautifully recorded at The China Cloud and Monarch Studios by their go-to producer Mark Lawrence, this self titled collection of eleven originals from The Burying Ground resonates with emotion and gleam with authenticity.
BC Musician Magazine
written by Dave O Rama May 14, 2017
Country Blues & Rags finds East Vancouver roots band The Burying Ground paying tribute to some of their musical heroes. Known for their down home style string band originals The Burying Ground follow up their debut Big City Blues with an EP of covers featuring many classics from the depression era American south.
Formed by Van City punks Woody Forster (Resophonic guitar and vocals) and Devora Laye (washboard, vocals, kazoo, and musical saw) from members of their old band The Dire Wolves, the main core of the band is filled out by upright bass player Joseph Lubinsky-Mast, while Trent Freeman (fiddle), and harmonica man Josh Doherty swell the ranks to a five piece for this recording.
Recorded in Laye’s living room as an homage to their early 19th century influences, Country Blues & Rags features some well executed songs by many country blues legends such as Blind Blake, Big Bill Broonzy, Memphis Minnie’s Drunken Barrelhouse Blues, Blind Lemmon Jefferson’s Easy Rider Blues, and Charlie Poole’s Milwaukie Blues.
“We’re going in to record a new full length album of all originals very soon,” says Forster. “We recorded this EP all in one day. It was engineered by our good friend Mark Lawrence at The China Cloud studios. He’s always helping us out and making things happen for us.”
Forster’s rich and hearty voice certainly does justice to the material and the simple old timey string band approach sounds incredibly authentic and Laye’s contribution of clackity washboard shuffle and ethereal saw induced melodies really penetrate the music with a rough jugband feel that transports the listener back in time. Vancouver’s The Burying Ground prove to be excellent interpreters of an old form of rural music from an era when folks had to whip up a dance party with whatever instrumentation was available, and Country Blues & Rags would surely impress any and all followers of the form.
"If you have the opportunity to see The Burying Ground perform livedo not miss their innovative interpretation of blues, and rags, with a modern perspective that few bands have mastered."
- Greg Keffer of the Fraser Valley Blues Society
Interview in American Standard Time
with Michael Wohl, Published May 2017