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The porch music of Wood Brothers

Instead of trying to box the Wood Brothers into a style corner by examining the trace elements of jazz, blues, and rock in their music, can we just agree to call them clever? Good. But even then, the word “clever” doesn’t begin to describe it. Consider the jazzy chord extensions and the artsy upright bass lines during the set-up of the Wood Brothers’ cover of Gregg Allman’s “Midnight Rider.” With a tender but complex build like that, a listener may wonder where the music’s going to go next. The answer comes in Oliver Wood’s singing. His lead vocal is taken straight out of the heart of soul, and the backwoods harmony that his brother Chris puts on top of it seals the deal.

One can find the roots of their previous musical lives in each song (Oliver played with Tinsley Ellis; Chris put the Wood in Medeski Martin & Wood), but the overriding feel is of porch music. Aside from the regional patois and the distinct harmonies, there’s also a sense of one-upmanship in that genre, the prize of recognition going to the writer who can best grind an old axe with new wit. This is a skill not lost on the brothers. “Keeps a letter in the pocket of his coat,” Oliver sings about an old bluesman’s source of pain, “but he never breaks the seal.”

Past Event

The Wood Brothers

  • Thursday, January 30, 2014, 8:30 p.m.
  • Belly Up Tavern, 143 S. Cedros Avenue, Solana Beach
  • 21+ / $19 - $21

The Wood brothers grew up in Colorado. After 15 years apart (they now tour with drummer Jano Rix), the trio makes sounds that sometimes favor their musical heroes. You can almost hear Jimmy Reed’s washboard guitar coming out of Oliver Wood’s archtop. And some of their studio mixes sound close to the manner of music that the Band was making during their final years. The Americana stripe runs deep in Oliver, but as a fan of the abstract jazz of MMW, who knew Chris had it in him?

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Instead of trying to box the Wood Brothers into a style corner by examining the trace elements of jazz, blues, and rock in their music, can we just agree to call them clever? Good. But even then, the word “clever” doesn’t begin to describe it. Consider the jazzy chord extensions and the artsy upright bass lines during the set-up of the Wood Brothers’ cover of Gregg Allman’s “Midnight Rider.” With a tender but complex build like that, a listener may wonder where the music’s going to go next. The answer comes in Oliver Wood’s singing. His lead vocal is taken straight out of the heart of soul, and the backwoods harmony that his brother Chris puts on top of it seals the deal.

One can find the roots of their previous musical lives in each song (Oliver played with Tinsley Ellis; Chris put the Wood in Medeski Martin & Wood), but the overriding feel is of porch music. Aside from the regional patois and the distinct harmonies, there’s also a sense of one-upmanship in that genre, the prize of recognition going to the writer who can best grind an old axe with new wit. This is a skill not lost on the brothers. “Keeps a letter in the pocket of his coat,” Oliver sings about an old bluesman’s source of pain, “but he never breaks the seal.”

Past Event

The Wood Brothers

  • Thursday, January 30, 2014, 8:30 p.m.
  • Belly Up Tavern, 143 S. Cedros Avenue, Solana Beach
  • 21+ / $19 - $21

The Wood brothers grew up in Colorado. After 15 years apart (they now tour with drummer Jano Rix), the trio makes sounds that sometimes favor their musical heroes. You can almost hear Jimmy Reed’s washboard guitar coming out of Oliver Wood’s archtop. And some of their studio mixes sound close to the manner of music that the Band was making during their final years. The Americana stripe runs deep in Oliver, but as a fan of the abstract jazz of MMW, who knew Chris had it in him?

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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