BY EVAN VERPLOEGH | NOVEMBER 1, 2015
The Wood Brothers have done it again. The Nashville-based trio have released another heart-stirring, whiskey soaked record that encompasses exactly what they do best. In Paradise, their blues/americana act adds a touch of pizzazz and a little more distortion to their traditionally acoustic sound. Ultimately, The Wood Brothers have released their most thoughtful and ambitious album to date.
Chris and Oliver Wood have firmly engrained themselves into the ears of anyone who bothers to listen. Oliver’s distinctive rasp and unique guitar style, along with Chris’ virtuosic bass playing makes for a level of musicianship and melodious that is not always seen in front-porch, roots style music. That, along with the distinctive percussion sounds that Jano Rix makes on his affectionately named “shit-tar” (a beat up acoustic guitar that Rix has fixed with numerous bells and whistles) comes together for a brand of unmistakable music.
Paradise kicks off with “Singing to Strangers”. We get a taste of Chris Wood’s talented harmonica playing, which he seems to perform effortless while running up and down the neck of his upright bass. Oliver’s patented vocals dance over the upbeat tune before we get a little high-gain acoustic shreddage. This is about as hard-rocking as The Wood Brothers will get, and they pull it off quite nicely, making for an energetic album opener.
The third track “Never and Always” is classic Wood Brothers through and through. Chris’ buoyant bass sound bounces up and down in the background, Rix pops guitar strings to hold down the grove, and Oliver’s sorrowful, yet humorous and self-deprecating lyrics just beg for your attention. I think “Never and Always” will end up holding up with songs like “Luckiest Man” and “Loaded” as timeless and quintessential Wood Brothers tracks. It also doesn’t hurt to have soon-to-be blues guitar legend, Derek Trucks, and his soulful wife, Susan Tedeschi as guests on the tune.
As talented as each member of the band is at their instruments, I think I’ll always gravitate towards the understated ballads that always find their place on The Wood Brothers’ releases. Oliver’s take on the world is fascinating and seems to hit me in a deeper spot than just about any other lyricist out there. There is no word-mincing or indecipherable lines. Just real, honest, heartfelt commentary that you don’t see too often these days.
In “Paradise,” we hear the band take some new risks and hit some newfound highs. I can’t wait to hear these tunes in a live setting, because as you may have guessed, they are
certainly a force to be reckoned with on stage. You’ll be able to hear their deep catalog come to life at the Stoughton Opera House on November 6th.