The surge in interest of late in traditional American roots music has generated new heat for a number of acts, some more worthy and authentic than others. The Wood Brothers fall solidly into the former camp, being the project of brothers Oliver and Chris Wood, who pursued separate music interests (Chris with the legendary NYC jazz unit Medeski, Martin & Wood, Oliver as a guitarist for bluesman Tinsley Ellis and later with the band King Johnson) before coming together to perform the music they grew up with. After playing to an audience of 900 the night before in Boston, the Brothers hit the cozier Bowery Ballroom here in New York on a Friday night for a very, very sold out show so packed that folks were three- or four-deep on the balcony. This nearly two-hour show, played as a single set, showed what makes The Wood Brothers so special – stylistic range, a flair for entertainment, skill at their instruments, and a sound that respects its source material. Indeed, the Brothers’ vision for this band hasn’t been to slavishly clone one genre, but to create a sound that shows their deep knowledge across American music of the last two centuries. Thus, songs like “Atlas” have a gospel-country feel, while songs like “Spirit” and “Twisted” marry that country twang with electric blues. Then there are the rockers – especially popular on a Friday night – like “Honey Spoon”. The Brothers also paused mid-set for a quiet pair of songs performed in the old bluegrass tradition, with the performers surrounding a single onstage microphone. Even with the amount of money Bowery was making at the bar that night, the crowd paused the revelry long enough to respect a lovely rendition of “Muse” and another new song I did not know.
Fittingly, the band was touring to support their 2012 live record, available now as a two-volume LP package entitled Vol. 1: Sky High and Vol. 2: Nail and Tooth. We saw many of those songs played here, along with several numbers that should be on their way for the band’s next LP (if you can identify some of the titles I didn’t know, please assist). This set arguably peaked with three songs that are on the live record, when they followed their classic “Luckiest Man” with an extended jam on “One More Day”, and went into “Glad”. After that, just before the encore, we got a duo of “sweet” songs in “Chocolate On My Tongue” and “Shoo Fly Pie”. The set easily could have ended there, but the Brothers went ahead and treated us to a double encore anyway, in the form of a cover of the country classic “Fox On the Run” and the defiant closer, a cover of Allen Touissant’s “Get Out of My Life Woman”. The band left the stage and headed down to the Bowery Ballroom bar to chat with fans and sign newly-bought copies of their records. The Wood Brothers are that type of band.
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The Wood Brothers
New York, NY USA
Exclusive download hosted at nyctaper.com
Recorded and produced by acidjack
Schoeps MK41 (DINa, balcony, ROC)>KCY>Z-PFA>Roland R-26>24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (pan R channel slightly)>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ)>Audacity (set fades, tracking, additional EQ, amplify, balance, downsample)>FLAC ( level 8 )
Tracks [Total Time: 1:49:56]
03 Keep Me Around
06 Mary Anna
07 Smoke Ring Halo
12 Postcards From Hell
14 Honey Spoon
19 Little Liza Jane
21 Luckiest Man
22 One More Day>jam>One More Day
25 Chocolate On My Tongue
26 Shoo Fly Pie
27 [encore break 1]
28 Fox On the Run [Allen Touissant]
29 [encore break 2]
30 Get Out of My Life Woman