It turns out that absence does make the heart grow fonder. At least, it does in the case of The Duhks, who have reunited after a three-year “semi-hiatus.”
Founded in 2002, the GRAMMY winning Canadian acoustic roots band boasts a diverse collection of musical influences, including old-time, jazz, Celtic folk, and even punk; for nearly a decade, they blended these disparate genres into an irresistible sound that simultaneously feels both traditional and modern. That sound—found on four stunning studio albums—captured the hearts of numerous fans and has received extensive critical acclaim: The Duhks’ 2005 self-titled record won the Best Roots & Traditional Album Juno Award, and, in 2007, they were nominated for a GRAMMY in the Best Country Performance category.
Earlier in their career, the band spent up to ten months each year touring, a punishing pace that led to what Podolak wryly refers to as “a series of Spinal Tap-esque obstacles” and a band-wide case of burnout. All five members went their separate ways in 2010, pursuing other project that ranged from luthiery (McConnell quite literally knows his guitars inside and out) to theater. However, they’d come together for the occasional show, and have such a great time performing with one another that calling an end to their hiatus seemed only natural.
Although they’d spent most of their self-imposed break scattered across North America, The Duhks were able to pick up where they left off after just two rehearsals. Some bands might be content to trot out their old favorites for festivals, but all the members of The Duhks agreed that new music would be an essential element of their reunion. “It’s important to us to be creative instead of rehashing something that was ten years ago,” explains Podolak.
The band has scheduled several show dates and is currently working on material for an EP release this spring, which will be followed by the release of their fifth full-length studio album later in the year. After their time apart, The Duhks are approaching their music with a renewed energy and a passion that’s nearly palpable. “It’ll be great to bring the last few years of our lives and musical journeys into what we’re doing now,” Podolak says. “We’ve all grown as musicians and as people, and I think that’s really going to come out in the music.”
With the explosion of the neo-folk scene and the increasing popularity of bands like The Avett Brothers, The Duhks are excited to return to stage and studio and share their sound with their extensive fan base. “The way folks reacted to our music is a big honor, and sharing stages with our heroes isn’t something we take lightly,” Podolak says. “But we’re not going to be that 200 gig a year band anymore. This is a way to honor and continue something we’ve been doing for a long time, but now in a healthy, more sustainable way so we can enjoy it as much as the fans do.”