Culture, Music

What Next Impulse Is Listening To: Volume 3

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The Wood Brothers – (Nashville, TN) – Blues/Folk

Oliver and Chris Wood were always supposed to make music together. Two brothers from Boulder, Colorado, who were raised on blues and classic American roots, by a musically inclined father and a mother deeply passionate about poetry and storytelling. If you consider their upbringing and individual interests in performing, the idea of them creating music together in a band of their own, was a seemingly logical one. But as they each went their own way trying to find their own musical accents, fifteen years had passed before their melodious paths crossed in 2004. During those years apart, their respective journeys took on quite a different sound, with Chris, the younger of the two, studying Jazz at New England’s Conservatory of Music, and eventually forming a very well known and successful jazz-fusion band called Medeski, Martin & Wood. While Oliver, went the bluesy-funk route, touring with Tinsley Ellis and eventually creating his own band, King Johnson.

On that night in 2004, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, when Oliver’s band opened for Chris’, and Oliver briefly sat in with the main act, something happened that they both hadn’t felt throughout their professional careers. Oliver described that experience of them finally sharing the stage together by saying, “It was a certain telepathy. A supernatural, psychic kind of thing.”, and Chris expressing “It was like watching myself play.” “There was this moment of realization, that you know, we should be playing music together. Something about having that connection and then went our own separate ways for 15-20 years, and kind of became seasoned at what we did, and then to come back together after all of that.. is pretty amazing. Two brothers coming together to play some music.”. From that moment on, there was absolutely no looking back. They instantly started writing original content together and began recording demos which would then lead to a record deal and albums to follow.

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The years spent away from each other perfecting different styles of music is so clearly evident in their song-writing, as the combination of Chris’ instrumental jazz influences, and Oliver’s blues guitar roots and whiskey-immersed voice, meticulously pair into one final product that is so polished, yet raw with pure emotion. Even more intriguing about their music, is how personal and comforting it is for the listener. Their catalog of tracks and lyrics touch on every possible emotion that a human being will inevitably endure throughout their lifetime. Their albums are full of everything from broken relationships, to tales of hope, regret and simple appreciation. And while you get a fair share of classic foot-stomping, smoky bar blues tracks, you also receive a front row seat to Chris and Oliver’s most intimate personal matters, in songs where they touch on loved ones who have passed away. Such is the track Loving Arms” from their 2008 release, Loaded, in which they sing about their Mother, who passed away from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). The lyrics from that specific song being, “You’d think a grown man would care about his boot lace being undone.. but you just miss those loving arms.” “God damn. You’re a boy not a man.. when you miss those loving arms.”, takes you to your own personal thoughts about those in your life that you love, and provides you a reminder to not take lightly the precious moments you get to share with them. Which is exactly what great music does.. gives you an opportunity to take what you are hearing, and apply it to your own daily accounts and interaction with others. It’s the epitome of the effect that music can have, in its simplest form.

The Wood Brothers currently have three full studio albums out: Ways Not To Lose (2006), Loaded (2008) and Smoke Ring Halo (2011). They are releasing their fourth, titled The Muse, in three weeks on Oct 1st, 2013, and are currently touring the Country and promoting it. You can find their tour dates and locations HERE. Below is a brief EPK from their last album, and a couple videos of them performing.

EPK from Smoke Ring Halo:

Lovin’ Arms (Loaded):

One More Day (Ways Not To Lose):