Ryerson grads’ band nominated for a JUNO award

In Arts & Life /

By Nicole Schmidt

Like most musicians, Gavin Gardiner started playing instruments at a young age. His parents, big music lovers, signed him up for violin lessons when he was five. But he was so terrible at it that soon after he started, his own parents made him quit.

It would take a near-death experience for the Gardiners to give their son another chance musically.

Shortly after he stopped his lessons, Gardiner’s dad left on a business trip. On his returning flight, the plane doors flew open. Nothing tragic happened and everybody survived, but his father was so grateful to be alive that he went out and bought Gardiner an electric guitar, which he learned to play, and unlike with the violin, he was good.

Gardiner has gone further than his parents ever expected. So much so that he and his band, The Wooden Sky, have been nominated for a 2013 JUNO award for best roots and traditional album of the year.

“It’s really gratifying,” says Gardiner, 30. “We didn’t make our record with that in mind, but then to have people accept it in that sense is exciting.”

The Wooden Sky is an indie folk/ rock band consisting of Ryerson RTA grads Gavin Gardiner, who does vocals, guitar and harmonics, and percussionist Andrew Kekewich.

Andrew Wyatt, the bass player, also graduated from Ryerson for social work. Other members include Simon Walker and Edwin Huizinga.

But the group wasn’t actually formed with the intention of becoming a band, according to Gardiner.

He says that things just sort of fell into place.

It started with a recording project that Gardiner and a friend were working on for class back in 2003.

From there, they began playing shows around Toronto.

Through the years, the band continued to grow both musically and professionally. Along the way, they recruited new members, some they met at drunken karaoke nights and asked to join the ranks. Their combined talents have helped The Wooden Sky get to where they are today.

“We’re always evolving, always changing, always moving forward and reaching for the next step,” says Gardiner.

The band has earned popularity over the past few years. For the members, it’s been quite a journey.

They’ve toured together, travelled together, and dealt with all the stress that comes with the industry together.

Still, they say they wouldn’t change a thing.

“I’m doing what I want to do,” Kekewich says. “And it’s nice to be able to get the chance to pursue that with some of my best pals.”

With the JUNOs just around the corner, The Wooden Sky is preparing for their trip to Saskatchewan in April. Their nominated album, Every Child a Daughter, Every Moon a Sun, encompasses the idea that everyone interprets things differently.

“It’s about trying to understand your place in the universe,” says Gardiner.

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