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The Waiting (2010)

The Story back to top

The Waiting (2010)

Singer-songwriter Royal Wood has spent years perfecting his craft of balladry and pop music. His new album, The Waiting, appropriately begins with a song entitled “You Can’t Go Back.” And why would he, when with each new release Royal Wood delivers another collection of heartrending and honest tales of love, loss and life more impressive than the last. It now seems more than ever that Wood has found his voice. “This record is about the duality of life and how at times, I seemingly waited for the mirrored experience to return,” says Wood. “I went through so many severe shifts personally and all of that turbulence led to serious thought and reflection. That is why these songs were born and why they are my most personal and introspective to date.”

Royal Wood’s voice, songwriting and musical prowess caught the ear of Pierre Marchand and led to Wood’s decision to let others into his creative universe. On previous albums (A Good Enough Day, Tall Tales, and The Milkweed EP), Wood self-produced, arranged and played the vast majority of the instruments. Pierre Marchand, a heavy hitter best known for his work with Sarah McLachlan, produced three of The Waiting’s tracks. “I wanted someone who was going to push me artistically, get me out of my comfort zone and who I could inevitably learn something from,” says Wood. “That was Pierre.”

The first single “On Top Of Your Love” demonstrates a primal theme. It’s a driving piano track that has a very obvious message. “That song is simply about lust,” says Wood. “About being separated from someone you just can’t have.” Wood is more delicate and sweet in his delivery on “The Island” and “A Discovery.”

“I had to make a conscious decision to include my first attempt at true ‘love’ songs. I’ve always written about having lost, or being about to lose, or wanting to lose love… I’ve always had one foot out the door,” says the no-longer-reluctant romantic. “I’m very intimate and honest in what I create. But there’s something great about I-want-to-hold-your-hand songs when someone else writes them and I realized I finally had the inspiration to make my own.”

This doesn’t mean Wood isn’t beyond examining his past, though. The rock-fueled “Do You Recall” investigates the ended relationships of years gone by. “Do You Recall was an amalgamation of breakups — when you’re looking back and you don’t really know what it was that lead to their demise,” says Wood.

Love won and lost is not the only topic of discussion for Wood. “Tonight I Will Be Your Guide” is a lifeline to a loved one recalling a Tom Waits-style of Salvation Army brass and jazz trio. “Birds On Sunday” asks the almost pleading spiritual question “why won’t those birds begin to sing?” that features some of the many string and horn arrangements Wood composed for this record.

Rounding out the album is a long overdue fan favourite entitled “Lady In White,” which includes a group vocal section inspired by Wood’s ability to get his audience to sing along each night to draw the show to a close.

Royal Wood’s career trajectory is building fan by fan through word of mouth, critical acclaim and impressive musical achievements. He was named iTunes’ Songwriter of the Year, supported national tours with Serena Ryder and Sarah Slean and landed song placements in TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy. With the release of The Waiting, his most inspired record to date, an upcoming national theatre tour with David Gray and more in the works, now more than ever Royal Wood is an artist on the rise.

The Credits back to top

All songs written by Royal Wood
Published by Songs of MapleMusic Publishing

Tracks 1,2 and 6 were produced, recorded and mixed by Pierre Marchand
Tracks 3,4,5,7-11 were produced by Dean Drouillard and Royal Wood
Tracks 3,4,5,9 and 10 were mixed by Pascal Shefteshy
Tracks 7,8 and 11 were mixed by Dean Drouillard
Recorded and engineered by Pascal Sheftshy at Studio PM
Additional recording by Jeff Elliot at BoomBox Sound Studios, Jeremy Darby at Canterbury Sound and Dean Drouillard at Dragon’s Den Studio
Mastered by Fedge

Strings arranged by Royal Wood
Horns on “Birds on Sunday” were arranged by Royal Wood
Horns on “Tonight I Will Be Your Guide” were arranged by Bryden Baird
“A Discovery” and “Paradise” were arranged by Royal Wood, Dean Drouillard and Adam Warner

Royal Wood – vocals, piano, tack piano, acoustic guitar, nylon string guitar, keyboards, rhodes, wurlitzer, synths, marxophone, handclaps
Dean Drouillard – electric guitar, acoustic guitar, nylon string guitar, marxophone, synths, handclaps
Adam Warner – drums, percussion, handclaps
Steve Zsirai – upright bass, electric bass, handclaps
Karen Graves – 1st violin
Kathryn Sugden – 2nd violin
Johann Lotter – viola
Kevin Fox – cello
Catherine Le Saunier – cello on “You Can’t Go Back”
David French – tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, flute
Bryden Baird – trumpet, french horn, flugel horn
William Carn – trombone

Group vocals on “Lady in White” were performed by Sue Passmore, Courtney Farquhar, Miranda Mulholland, Peter Katz, Dean Drouillard, Ron Leary, Andrew Masse and Steve Zsirai

The Lyrics back to top

1. You Can’t Go Back

If you go I will fall
Into the deep
In you, well I have discovered
Everything I need to live
Forget the smoke and mirrors
You can’t go back
If you leave I will drown
Take your key
Burn this town
There’s no way now
In you, well I have uncovered
Everything I need to be
No conjuring the past
You can’t go back
You were the island in the waves

My life will never be the same In you, well I’ve found a lover
Every bit I need to breathe
No hocus pocus here
You can’t go back

link | songs

2. Do You Recall?

I can’t recall just what was said
I won’t bring back the words that led to
The breaking down and trails of dead
I cannot recall

I think I had a sweater on
Maybe just a blanket to keep me
Warm when all the blood was gone
I cannot recall

Well I see no reason here I’m sleeping light
And I see no reason alone at night
Well I find no answers here my bed is cold
Well I find no answers here
Do you…?

I can’t recall what broke the thread
I won’t bring back the pull that led to
The tearing down of all ahead
I cannot recall

Well I see no reason here the fear resides
And I see no reason here across the line
Well I find no answers here a tale untold
Well I find no answers here
Do you?

Well do you recall?
What made us fall?
Was there noise at all?
Oh do you recall?

link | songs

3. Waiting

I know you carry him
That blanket still remembered
A kiss upon your skin
Of which you did surrender
An embrace upon a page
A man remains defended
So where do I begin
To overtake the ending

All my bones they are for you
All waiting

Feeling worse the wine
A drunken made confession
Now empty of your sins
I’m left to take possession

All my dreams they are for you
All waiting

All my starry eyes for you
All waiting

Will you look away?
Long enough to notice the way
I’m standing at your gate waiting

link | songs

4. On Top Of Your Love

You scare me half to death
But you bring on my best
The worst I haven’t seen
But give it all to me

I wanna get on top of your love…

When you’re lying on your back
And our weapons they attack
This crown of love is cruel
And I may be the fool

I feel it in my bones

Oh the fatigue of lust
When dizzying and hushed
In matters of the flesh
Incapable of rest

Ecstasy’s on the altar
That I will find there in between you
And in the moment after
I know I’ll hold you near me

link | songs

5. Birds On Sunday

Well I went walking in the woods Sunday
Dragged my feet through the undergrowth
Stumbling upon a bird instead
Singing songs sweet of hope and…

So I went back there the very next day
Found no trace of the sweet song
Dragged my feet just the very same way
But no melody rang home
No birds to sing
No bird

Waiting there to blessed my roam
No melody
No melody to save
Ringing out with sacred tones
No melody
No melody to sing

No bird to sing
Why won’t those birds begin?
To sing…

Well I went walking in the woods Sunday

link | songs

6. The Island

I spent my life so patient
Waiting for the descent
The gift to bring me water
The drought that ends thereafter

I tread my foot most lightly
Past the day left nightly
And striving to be honest
But hopeless without ballast

For the light did sweep across the sea
You were the keeper of the key
And the holder of my destiny
A thousand poems for the sight I’ve seen
I’ve found myself the island

A tree will bend and offer
The branch to give the altar
My promise will not falter
To you my dearest lover

And now we lay
Down the day
In this we’re safe
We know the way
Where we’re going

link | songs

7. A Discovery (We’re Lovely)

Hope, hope
Filling a bucket full
Lines, lines
Between them I see the signs
Of stars, of stars
Heaven knows I’m alarmed
By what’s been armed by us

Luck, luck
We’re praying it’s in the cup
Delight, delight
Thinking we have arrived
The sounds, the sounds
Heaven knows what’s around
And what’s been bound in us

We’re lovely
We’re lovely
There’s nothing above it
We’re lovely
So lovely
Our beauty’s a discovery
And it’s time

Life, life
Regardless of all the strife
It led, it led
Me down this here road to get
To you, to you
I’ve everything here to lose
So I’ve hired the moon for us

link | songs

8. Tonight I Will Be Your Guide

You’ve been burning your bridge
Peering over your ledge
Letting darkness come in with applause
And the sorrows you keep
Are the waters run deep
But tonight I will be your guide

Oh the judgment you hold
In the pages you fold
Are held tightly and clenched in a fist
You’re your own verdict led
And it’s off with your head

But tonight I will be your guide
Oh sad eyes
Oh sad eyes

link | songs

9. Paradise

My dove
You came to the window as a spark
And left as a raven after dark
Was I the tourist in your heart?

Now love
I tried to be native in your land
But you dismissed me careless hand

For I’ve held paradise
But lost sight of it now

And time
Don’t be a stranger with a drop
Fill in the spaces
Set up shop
I need a fix
Fast forward clocks

All I want is to hold you to me now
All I want is forever to allow

link | songs

10. Lady In White

Oh goodbye my lady in blue
What is now this man to do?
Well I know you’ll need this tonight
So I’ll think of you lady in white

For blue is the color of tears
An ocean of you wrapped in years
I know you’ll get through tonight
If I think of you lady in white

Well oh sorry drummer player on
Remember my lady in song
I know I’ll prove this tonight
If I think of my lady in white

Yes goodbye my lady in blue
What is now this man to do?
I know I love you tonight
So I’ll think of you lady in white…
My beautiful lady in white

Oh goodbye our ladies in blue
What is now this world to do?
Well I know we’ll need this tonight
Could we think of our ladies in white?
For blue is the color of our tears
It’s an ocean of us wrapped in years
I know we’ll get through tonight
If we sing for our ladies in white…
Could we sing for our ladies in white?

link | songs

11. When Nothings Left

What is this we find ourselves alone again?
Just you and I a force against the gears
If nothing’s left to burn we must burn ourselves
When nothing’s left to burn

How is this we find ourselves as two again?
Yes you and I a rage against the mirror
If nothing’s left to say we must speak ourselves
When nothing’s left to say

How my love this moment here is ripe for us
Yes you and I so brave against the years
If nothing’s left to live we must find a way
When nothing’s left to live

With all my heart…

Yes how my love this moment here is ripe for us
Yes you and I so brave against the years
If nothing’s left to live we must find a way
There’s reason yet to live
There’s something left to give
We must find a way
There is so much to give

link | songs


The Reviews back to top


Pop Culture Addict Sam Tweedle

In a music scene full of questionable talent and electronically distorted vocal tracks, thank God musicians like singer/songwriter Royal Wood still exist. With his classic good looks combined with vintage suits that makes him look like he walked out of an episode of Mad Men, Toronto based Royal Wood is the type of musician that the world needs more of – talented, intense, intelligent and real.



The Coast Carsten Knox

With The Waiting, Toronto-based songwriter Royal Wood stakes his claim to a broader audience than his first two full-length releases and two EPs have earned. And that’s no slight against his earlier work—“A Mirror Without” from A Good Enough Day remains his finest four minutes, 39 seconds —but there’s a wider reach to this collection of songs, marrying his typically heart-worn and -warming lyrics and his distinct piano signatures with the bigger, orchestral sounds provided by Sarah McLachlan and Rufus Wainwright producer Pierre Marchand. Witness the gorgeous statement “On Top of Your Love,” now getting big play on CBC Radio 2, the sublimely hooky “Do You Recall” or the lovely, fragile “Lady in White,” doubtlessly bound for many future matrimonial ceremonies.



The Metro Rachel Sanders

…sealed his position as one of Canada’s major talents.



Toronto Life Sarah Liss

Royal Wood is no throwback. Despite his suede-smooth voice and fondness for Steinways and three-piece suits, he prefers to leave Rat Pack revivalism to the Michael Bublés of the world. The thoroughly contemporary multi-instrumentalist has a gift for layered, prismatic arrangements that evoke the work of Beach Boys collaborator Van Dyke Parks. As a lyricist, he wears his heart on his bespoke sleeve, offering up wistful tales of love lost and found. Wood’s sensitive poet routine has uncommon roots: after studying business at McGill, he moved to Toronto, where he began working as a foreign exchange trader on Bay Street. Then he released several well-received recordings—most notably A Good Enough Day in 2007, which got air play on Grey’s Anatomy and earned him an international following and enough security to bid a triumphant farewell to the trading floor. (Finance, Wood insists, was merely “the best and only option” to fund his recordings.) His latest album, The Waiting, was produced with Pierre Marchand, who has refined the ornate sounds of Sarah McLachlan and Rufus Wainwright. Marchand’s influence has helped Wood distill his whimsy into smart, sparkling art-pop nuggets: the tunes on The Waiting are crisp, clever and commanding. (Think Wainwright with more chivalry and fewer histrionics.) Wood’s fall show at Exhibition Place’s 1,250-seat Queen Elizabeth Theatre is his biggest headlining gig yet: the refurbished room has marvelous acoustics and a level of ceremony and elegance worthy of his dapper performance persona. At last, a venue that fits him as well as his finery.



Ottawa Sun Denis Armstrong

Like a sober and spiffily cleaned-up Tom Wait’s, Toronto singer songwriter Royal Wood writes lovely, memorable romantic songs that grab the heart like a gospel singer praising the Lord. “Tonight, I Will Be Your Guide”, “Paradise”, “Lady In White”. Beautiful, spare songs. I received his new album “The Waiting” today at noon and by 5 p.m., had listened to the whole album compulsively four more times. It’s been ages since that happened.



Exclaim Rachel Sanders

With grander arrangements and more conviction in his chocolate-rich vocals, Royal Wood steps up on his third album, confirming his position amongst the cream of Canada’s songwriting crop. The Waiting opens with the almost unbearably slick “You Can’t Go Back,” but immediately moves into rougher terrain with the breathtaking “Do You Recall”; Wood’s urgently thudding piano line reels you in and leaves you helpless in its crashing surf of drums and electric pop. The Toronto, ON songwriter pushes his melodies to their limits throughout the first half of the album, hitting another high note with the clatter and rumble of “On Top Of Your Love.” The intensity ebbs midway through and he returns to subtler acoustic arrangements that recall his earlier work, placing his affecting lyrics centre stage. It all winds down with the beautifully weary “When Nothing’s Left,” in which the wrung-out tenor of Wood’s crooning demonstrates the emotional depths he’s plumbed for the sake of musical magic.


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