on 19 November 2013
Following on from the style of their previous releases this one raises the bar yet again in my opinion. Another lively, musically adept offering full of good, simple yet effective songs. Difficult to tie down a particular genre but there are definitely shades of country, blues and soul. Once again the unusual coarse yet melodic and soulful voice of Oliver Wood dominates proceedings on all but one track. The music is in the main upbeat and lively apart from the lovely 'sweet maria'. I particularly favour tracks 2-7 at present but there is not a bad track in sight. There are fine harmonies at play throughout and the main instruments of acoustic guitar, upright bass and percussion are supplemented by,amongst others, harmonica, mandolin, and keyboards. Although rather under the radar in this country, if you are looking for something a bit different you may well be pleasantly surprised by this US threesome who appear to be quite popular in their own country.
I've heard a few Wood Brothers records before and quite liked them but the opening track here "Wastin' My Mind" just sounded fantastic, like a song from one of The Band's first couple of albums and this was reinforced by the second track "Neon tombstone" with its oddly atmospheric 'Band-style' horn parts. Although the album was recorded in Nashville it definitely has that Woodstock-era sound of weird old America, with lovely, loose rambling, shambling arrangements and Buddy Miller's production keeps the 'live in the studio' vibe. The brothers are at the centre of the record with Chris contributing vocals, bass, harmonica, guitar and mandolin and Oliver adding vocals, guitar and mandocello, and they are ably aided by Jano Rix on vocals, drums, shuitar(?), percussion, melodica and piano. And while Oliver may handle most of the lead vocals, Chris and Jano's harmonies are just as an important part of the overall sound - just listen to their fabulous down-home version of the Los Lobos song "I got loaded". Most of the tracks are underpinned by Chris's fabulous virtuoso double bass playing, layered up with a variety of instruments and topped off by the vocals, with the music having elements of folk, country, blues, jazz and rock and roll all mixed in together. This as a really good record that deserves to be much more widely heard.