Friday, February 10, 2017

The Wood Brothers at Webster Hall's Grand Ballroom

As children in Boulder, Colorado, Oliver Wood and Chris Wood often sang along as their father played traditional folk, blues, country and bluegrass songs on his acoustic guitar. Approaching adulthood, Oliver moved to Atlanta, where he played guitar in rhythm & blues cover bands before joining Tinsley Ellis' blues band for two years; Oliver later fronted the blues band King Johnson, which recorded five albums. Chris, meanwhile, studied jazz bass, moved to New York City and, in the early 1990s, formed jazz and jam band Medeski Martin & Wood (MMW). After pursuing separate musical careers for some 15 years, Oliver sat in with MMW following King Johnson’s opening set in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Oliver and Chris began recording original roots-sounding songs together as the Wood Brothers in 2005. In 2012, Oliver moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and Chris recently followed. The Wood Brothers is presently a trio with multi-instrumentalist Jano Rix. The Wood Brothers' most recent album, Live at the Barn, was release on January 13, 2017.

Later in the night, Webster Hall's Grand Ballroom would host an evening of EDM, house and techno music, but for a short time earlier, the Wood Brothers turned the dance club into a front porch hootenanny. Armed with just a guitar, upright bass and drums, the country and blues band opened with a cover of "Stop That Train," a song popularized by Bob Marley, and then proceeded to perform one song from each of the Wood Brothers' five studio albums. Before long, Rix left his drum kit for the stage line and hand-slapped his shuitar, a modern guitar-shaped percussion instrument. The songs sounded like vintage standards, but they were originals with arrangements inspired by the Americana of long ago. Near the end of the set, the trio gathered around an old-fashioned microphone called Big Mike for quiet interpretations of "Muse" and "Sing about It"; the opening trio, the T Sisters, returned to the stage to harmonize on the latter song. The concert ended with a rousing version of the Band's "Ophelia." In all, the Wood Brothers successfully refined simple blues, folk, and bluegrass roots for a lively barnyard-styled hoedown.

Visit the Wood Brothers at www.thewoodbrothers.com.

Setlist:
  1. Stop That Train (cover) > Two Places
  2. Keep Me Around
  3. Loaded
  4. Smoke Ring Halo
  5. Tried and Tempted
  6. Snake Eyes
  7. (New Song)
  8. American Heartache
  9. Atlas
  10. Blue and Green
  11. One More Day
  12. Muse
  13. Sing about It (with the T Sisters)
  14. Postcards from Hell
  15. Singin’ to Strangers
  16. Honey Jar
Encore
  1. Luckiest Man
  2. Ophelia (The Band cover)