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The Wood Brothers (from the album Heart is the Hero available on Honey Jar Records/Thirty Tigers) (by Brian Rock)
The Wood Brothers continue to create authentic, unvarnished Americana on their eighth release, Heart is the Hero. Infusing their Piedmont Blues roots with a playful, funky, Soul undertones, Oliver & Chris Wood create a unique sound that stands out like a Virginia pine in a field of Japanese maples.
Piano and a funky bass line set the tone on the album opener, “Pilgrim”. Urging us to slow down from our fast-paced digital world, Oliver sings, ‘I gotta slow down ‘cause a soul can’t travel so fast’. A well-phrased ‘journey not the destination’ song, The Woods encourage us not to come to a complete mediative stop, but to slow down and focus our awareness on the beauty of the present moment. The playful Jazz and Piedmont Blues rhythms remind us that life is meant to be enjoyed.
The synergy between Oliver and Chris evokes the mythic Willis Alan Ramsey, the legendary Jim Lauderdale, and the iconic Jim Croce. Epitomizing the subgenre called ‘porch music’, The Brothers create songs that make you want to sit outside on your porch, kick your feet up and let the day pass by without a care in the world.
Even when dealing with loneliness and heartache, the brothers manage to find the silver lining. On “Far from Alone”, a bouncing bass line adds optimism to a lonely man in a bar enduring the off-key warbling of another patron singing along with the dusty jukebox in the corner. As the song builds to its musical climax, the lyrics move from specific to universal as Oliver sings, ‘you may be lonely but you’re so far from alone’. “Worst Pain of All” also employs deceptively optimistic Soul rhythms to address the pain of heartache. Singing ‘the worst pain of all is the pain no one can see. The worst pain of all is the one we all should feel. If we could shine a light on it, everyone would heal’. Acknowledging that we all carry heavy, unspoken burdens; The Wood Brothers encourage us to open up and share those pains with others so we can expose those wounds to the light. In the process we are bound to find out that the people we share with also have their burdens that can be healed by sharing.
The ballads on the album, “Between he Beats”, “Mean Man World”, “Rollin’ On”, “Kitchen Floor”, and the title track reflect the gentle, easy rolling Blues of the Piedmont region of Virginia and North Carolina. Flourishes of harmonica, Hammond organ, piano, and even cello add just the right amount of texture to these plaintive songs of love and loss and remembrance. Beneath the rhythms, each song is a poem worthy of contemplation. On “Heart is the Hero” for example, Oliver muses ‘oh my head, why you gotta get so gray? Why you always get in the way? Why can’t you just let things go? Oh, my heart, sorry what I put you through. The trouble is me, not you. You are the wisest one I know’. In the age-old battle between head and heart, The Wood Brothers clearly pronounce who should be, but seldom is the clear winner. Full of heart and hope, The Wood Brothers make the case to let your heart be the hero of your own story. (by Brian Rock)
Listen and buy the music of The Wood Brothers from AMAZON
For more information, please visit The Wood Brothers website
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