The Wood Brothers Biography
Just before plucking the opening chords of “Stumbled In” on the band’s upcoming live album, Live Vol. 1 Sky High, Oliver Wood poses a simple question to the audience assembled before the band he shares with bassist brother Chris and drummer Jano Rix: “Anybody going to church tomorrow?” he deadpans. While The Wood Brothers might not extol any particular religious values, this off-the-cuff, marginally sarcastic comment elicits applause, whistles and shouts. As Oliver later confesses, the lurching tune is more about “the spiritual benefits of a nightclub” than a loftier pursuit, but the atmosphere created at a Wood Brothers gig is not unlike an old-school revival; there’s a whole lot of sweatin’, shoutin’, stompin’ and singin’ happening.
The band’s fusion of folk, blues, jazz and classic R&B has evolved dramatically in its existence, and there’s no clearer proof than the in-the-moment magic of this matched set of live albums, which will be released several months apart. Since forming roughly eight years ago, the brothers Wood have transformed from a stripped-down, roots-rock-inspired duo with jazz leanings to a rollicking trio capable of holding their own in 10,000-seat arenas opening for the Zac Brown Band, captivating theaters filled with a thousand fans or holding sway over 200 patrons in a small rock club.
As The Wood Brothers, Oliver’s soulful, Van Morrison-meets-Freddie King vocals weave unforgettable melodies on top of his gritty and nimble slide guitar while Chris’ jazz-inspired double bass pulses underneath the surface, his high lonesome harmonies soaring far above the fray. Behind it all, Rix’s drums lend additional weight to the music and his vocal harmonies allow the trio to add even more dynamics than were previously possible. Although the final product is perhaps more accessible than either King Johnson or MMW, there is an effortless depth that has yielded an ever-growing batch of songs that sound impossibly accomplished. Though all three members of the band maintain residences in different states—a situation that the brothers plan to address within the year, as they work to further cement the band’s status as a can’t-miss live act with a stable of amazing songs—they have a work ethic while on the road that enables them to write new material while continually honing the “old” stuff; the results of the live album are tangible proof of the band’s desire and ability to evolve.
Seth Walker Biography
Time is relative: if you’re just going through the motions, the minutes and hours sluggishly drag on. When you’re doing what you love, the days fly by. In the three years since his last album, Seth Walker moved to Nashville from Austin, wrote songs with friends new and old, and played many, many shows. And just like most people, he thought about life, about love, and about the changes we all experience as you move away (both geographically and philosophically) from those people and places you know so well to try your hand at something new. His latest recording Time Can Change is a culmination of these experiences—the sound of an artist moving beyond his comfort zone and challenging himself to walk new creative ground.
“The album is a snapshot of movement in my musical journey of sorts,” states Walker. “A culmination of the continuing search for a way to write, sing and record in a new way.” Change isn’t the order of the day when you grow up slow. Seth’s childhood in rural North Carolina was spent largely on a two-family commune, with music as the backdrop to an unrushed way of life lived outside the city limits. Both his parents were classically trained musicians: his mom a talented violinist, his father an accomplished string player. Music was an integral part of each day where the soundtrack could run from Willie Nelson to J.S. Bach and everything between. Seth was exposed to, and subsequently absorbed, a sonically rich expression of life with all its inherent joy and pain. Although Seth started sawing on a cello by the age of three, it was the guitar that would ultimately be his true love. A musically inclined uncle introduced Seth to the blues, and in those raw, honest songs was the inspiration to begin trusting his own voice and his desire to express himself.
In addition to extensive national touring, Seth performed at last year’s Austin City Limits Music Festival and provided tour support for Raul Malo and the Wood Brothers. With a blues man’s respect for roots and tradition, coupled with an appreciation for—and successful melding of—contemporary songwriting, Seth is one of a handful of artists who incorporate a wide range of styles with warmth and grace. Perhaps Country Standard Time said it best: “If you subscribe to the Big Tent theory of Americana, then Seth Walker —with his blend of blues, gospel, pop, R&B, rock, and a dash country—just might be your poster
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