"If you have the opportunity to see The Burying Ground perform, do not miss their innovative musical interpretation of blues and rags, with a modern perspective, that few bands have mastered."
-Greg Keffer, Fraser Valley Blues Society
"You guys were awesome, I have been replaying the CD I bought in my car over and over!"
-Hazel Bennett, Dream Cafe Booking Manager
The Burying Ground typically perform as a quartet, and occasionally as quintet or a duo.
"There cannot be too many acts around whose principal influences and musical heroes emanate mainly from the first half of the 20th Century...Yet they do not merely ape the source material that inspires them: Forster and Laye are devotees that study and absorb it deeply, filtering such as pre war blues, early jazz and American rural folk music traditions into their own lovely material. Punk rockers at heart and previously in actuality, they acutely recognize and hold dear the ‘original punks’ – the Lead Bellys and the Woody Guthries of this world – and reverently project the same spirit of fierce independence..."
- David Morrison, Folk Radio UK.
The Burying Ground formed in 2014 as a duo, but Woody Forster and Devora Laye have been playing together since 2009 as members of The Dire Wolves, an acoustic blues string band and darlings of the East Van punk scene. They are steeped in influences from 1920’s Ragtime, Country & Western, Mississippi Blues and New Orleans Jazz.
Woody’s complex blues guitar and rags are punctuated and raised high by Devora’s tightly syncopated washboard, with playful rolls and staccato jumps and stops. Their solo and combined vocal styling is deeply resonant and heartfelt. Devora’s sound when masterfully bowing the saw is transportive.
The Burying Ground has been charming diverse crowds, across all ages and musical tastes, in large and small venues throughout Western Canada and the United States. They focus on writing and performing original music while continuing the tradition of sharing songs from the past. Woody and Devora’s songwriting illuminates the human experience that reflects the modern day, touching on mental health, the trauma of war, social justice and good old-fashioned lost and found love. It is today’s commentary on a framework of vintage music.
Their four radio-charting albums speak for themselves, all lively, true, meaningful and memorable from start to finish - Big City Blues (2015); Country Blues & Rags (2017); The Burying Ground (2017); and A Look Back (2020).
At home, on the road and in the studio Devora and Woody are accompanied by a rotating cast of masterful session and backing musicians. Their current line up includes Alex Hallbom on upright bass and Joshua Doherty on harmonicas and harmonies.
As a full band they have a lively and gritty sound with tight harmony and a driving rhythm section reminiscent of the music of the juke joints and jazz halls of the 1920’s and '30s. The band moves effortlessly between toe-tapping dance music, the yearning of country blues and the embellishments and energy of ragtime and jazz.
Current and past additional supporting musicians include:
Joshua Doherty - harmonicas, harmonies
Alex Hallbom - upright bass
Clara Rose Chisholm - fiddle, harmonies
Noah Gotfrit - upright bass
Wynston Minckler - upright bass
Bonnie Northgraves - trumpet
Joseph Lubsinky-Mast - upright bass
Marc Lindy - tuba
Jack Garton - trumpet
Trent Freedman - fiddle
Kathleen Nisbet - fiddle
Candice Roberts - harmonies, clarinet
The Burying Ground is based out of Vancouver BC, on unceded Coast Salish territories. The band trades in authentically delivered, roots, country blues and ragtime music. The core duo of Devora Laye (washboard, vocals, saw) and Woody Forster (guitar, vocals) are known for songwriting that illuminates the human experience, and reflects the modern day by touching on mental health, the trauma of war, social justice and good old-fashioned lost and found love. It is today’s commentary on a framework of vintage music.
They have been charming diverse crowds, across all ages and musical tastes, in large and small venues throughout Canada, the United States and Europe. To date, they have released four albums that have all hit radio charts. The duo are accompanied by Joshua Doherty on harmonica and harmonies and Alex Hallbom on upright bass.