Runner of the Woods - 'Thirsty Valley' (album stream) (premiere)

Nashville musician Nick Beaudoing explores his French-Canadian roots with his new band.

The coureurs de bois were French Canadian woodsmen who traversed the wilderness of North America, learning the ways of the natives as they hunted for fur pelts and explored. Nashville musician Nick Beaudoing, being of 100 percent French Canadian descent, named his band Runner of the Woods, a literal translation of coureur de bois, and his love of nature fits right into the rustic aesthetic of the band’s new album Thirsty Valley. The American influences are easy to pinpoint – some Bakersfield country here, some Centro-Matic there – but most interesting is how you can her a lot of contemporary Canadian roots rock on this charming album, such as the Wooden Sky, Cuff the Duke, and the Deep Dark Woods. It’s pastoral, ragged, and likeable, and we’re pleased to premiere the album.

“I like to think of Thirsty Valley as the record that almost didn’t happen. It began as the fourth album with my previous band, the Doc Marshalls," Beaudoing says. "In a short span of time, I moved from New York City to Nashville, the group dissolved, and my mother became seriously ill. I had every reason to abandon the project outright, but instead I started a new band and spent what little spare time I had in the studio. I wrote these songs at a time when I had grown weary of honky-tonk revivalism. I recall seeing artists like AA Bondy and Phosphorescent perform live and realizing that country music could serve as an inspiration for something fresh. I like to call our sound ‘countrygaze’ because it inhabits that middle ground between indie rock and hazy, introspective country. In many ways, Thirsty Valley was a harbinger of good things come. In the past year, my mother made a near-full recovery. I had another son. And now I have a record with a new band that I’m really proud of. It turns out I was right to be hopeful.”

Thirsty Valley is out now.

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