Sound Advice: The Wood Brothers with Gill Landry

Sunday • 20th Century Theater

click to enlarge The Wood Brothers
The Wood Brothers

Brothers Chris and Oliver Wood grew up in Colorado surrounded by the campfire music of their father and the storytelling poetics of their mother. So it was no surprise that both ended up as successful creatives, although, despite their shared roots, they didn’t work together for a significant portion of their careers.

Oliver started his music career playing guitar and touring alongside Blues/Rock artist Tinsley Ellis before founding his own group, the Blues and Funk powerhouse King Johnson. Chris, on the other hand, studied and mastered Jazz bass, which led to him co-founding one of today’s most popular and highly acclaimed contemporary Jazz acts, Medeski Martin & Wood.

It wasn’t until a decade and a half into their respective careers that Oliver sat in at a Medeski Martin & Wood show, and the brothers had a sibling epiphany. Not long after, the pair started recording songs together, leading to their 2006 debut as The Wood Brothers, Ways Not to Lose.

Since then, The Wood Brothers have put out new music with relative consistency, including 2008’s Loaded, 2009’s Up Above My Head (an album of covers), 2011’s Smoke Ring Halo and two live recordings in 2012. Throughout these works, the mix of their different musical backgrounds — Oliver’s funky Blues and Chris’ forward-thinking acoustic Jazz — and the influences they shared in their youth are readily apparent. Oliver’s gritty down-home guitar style and powerfully reflective songwriting meets Chris’ virtuosic, out-of-the-box bass riffing in a place not quite seen before in Folk/Blues music.

However, it was on The Wood Brothers’ most recent album, 2013’s The Muse, that the siblings seemed to find the heart of their collaboration. Part of that solidification and unity came from the addition of a consistent third-leg, Jano Rix, a multi-instrumentalist who often contributes a masterful dose of his patented percussion instrument, the “shuitar.” With the help of Rix, the trio has continued to refine a rare and full-bodied sound, pushing the boundaries of what Folk/Roots music can be. The next Wood Brothers album, Guesthouse, is set for an Oct. 2 release.

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