Entertainment

Good Old War play indie-folk with earthy style and substance

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There's nothing flashy about the music created by folk-pop trio Good Old War. Over the past four years, beginning with their 2008 debut Only Way to Be Alone, the band has made a name for themselves as a group with a flair for writing simple songs driven by catchy melodies and beautiful three-part harmonies.

It's not surprising, then, that on their latest album, Come Back As Rain, released earlier this month, the group continues to create music that draws comparisons to Simon and Garfunkel, the Everly Brothers and the Beatles.

The comparisons are not at all unexpected. As vocalist, guitarist and pianist Keith Goodwin explains, the band used songs by those groups as a blueprint for what they wanted to do with their own music.

"That helped early on," says Goodwin. "[We learned] how harmonies were put together from just learning songs that we liked that are in the popular classic rock genre."

In a move that seems pulled from the liner notes of one of these classic rock artists, the bands recorded their last album, their 2010 self-titled debut, in a cabin in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.

Goodwin explains that the idea came about a few months after releasing their debut album. With no tour booked, the band needed a way to pay the bills and the idea of getting "day jobs" was out of the question.

"That's what it started being -- we didn't want to get day jobs," he says. "We just wanted to focus strictly on music and so we did that . . . I think it really helped us hone our work ethic."

On Come Back As Rain, though, the group decided to go with a more conventional approach.

"It was a great experience," Goodwin remarks of recording in the mountains. "It's just that none of us are real engineers . . . I would be calling [producer] Jason and asking him, 'Where do I place these microphones?'"

Goodwin says that deciding to record at ARC Studios in Omaha, Nebraska with producer Jason Cupp allowed the band to get the best-sounding record that they could with their budget.

Speaking about the group's minimalistic approach to making records, Goodwin explains that the group wants to create an album sound that they can physically replicate live on stage.

"We don't want to have a six-piece band or anything like that, so it's sort of limited -- maybe even more of a challenge -- to try to keep it interesting."

The trio will bring their down-to-earth approach to perform in Calgary on April 1 at the Ironwood Bar and Grill. Here, they'll greet the mountains once again.

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