Regina’s Nick Faye and The Deputies aren’t in the habit of shying away from difficult conversations. Their third release, Worry, delved into mental illness and their latest EP—a full length album is expected this fall—takes an honest look at the struggle behind the glory of life on the road.
For the four-track album, the folk country quartet took advantage of the support from Creative Saskatchewan, SaskMusic and Rawlco Radio (that latter funding their upcoming album through their 10K20 project), pulling in several extra hands to piece together the shorter collection—and adding a little extra weight and muscle to share the burden.
Lambswool opens bleak, calling out the demands of the audience, the people left behind, and what always being “on” feels like. Between devastated croons and the agony coming through in the repetition of “Head in your hands,” lead Nick Faye admits, “And when you want me to be charismatic/ I’ll be charming and I’ll be humble.” Set over a classic country slow roll, the raw open sets up the confessional.
Homecoming “Kansas” feels worn out and heavy by the constant state of motion. Cold hotel halls contrast with Faye’s soaring call to home and the one waiting for him, the ultimate anchor of the song that can’t entirely “shake these ghosts.”
But midway through, “Wild Bones” finds a more upbeat tempo, and the vaguely melancholic lyrics are spirited away by jaunty notes and Faye getting the “wild back in [his] bones.” As a piano kicks in and chirps along the keys, there’s a sense of renewed life in the EP.
Lambswool closes with the rocking kind of hit the band likes to include to balance an album out. “Oh, I’m never going to be the one to give you up/ I’m never going to say it’s good enough,” makes for an odd romance—feeling like half a nod to love and another half to the road.
But that love/hate duality is at the core of this latest EP. The inescapable role touring plays and the unspoken toll it takes are eerily similar to those relationships you can’t give up, at least through the way Faye sees it. But as “Wild Bones” reveals, there’s a part of him that’s still hungry—and maybe all he’s asking for is, once again, just a little more honesty.
Top Track: “Head in Your Hands”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)