The Steel Woods (from the album Old News available on Woods Music/Thirty Tigers)
Self-awareness is the headline when The Steel Woods open their recent release, Old News, with first cut “All of These Years”. The band pull themselves up another rung on the ladder of life realizing ‘nothing makes you old like holding on to youth’, summing up experience as ‘a lot of blood, a lot of sweat, and a little bit of the Blues’. Guitarists Jason Rowdy Cope and Wes Bayliss met in Nashville, Tennessee, forming a songwriting team and a band with the addition of Johnny Stanton (bass) and Jay Tooke (drums). The heft in the playing of The Steel Woods is matched lyrically on Old News, the story of the title track suggesting that the answer to cultural upheaval may be answered by acting on our own thoughts rather than re-acting to the words of others. Guitar notes play tag over a solid backbeat as a deal goes bad for the gamblers in “Compared to a Soul” while mountain music pulls the strings for “Anna Lee”, sharp-angled riffs punch at “Blind Lover”, and the beat stomps a story in the stones found in the chiseler’s tale in “Rock That Says My Name”.
Old News blends the sweet sound of the south with electric guitars to deliver The Steel Woods brand of Southern Rock. Once the group caught a break in touring, The Steel Woods set up in Asheville, North Carolina’s Echo Mountain Studio, recording Old Newsin six-days carved out between shows. The recording process became a full band endeavor for Old News, Wes Bayliss explaining that The Steel Woods ‘really hone in on what we do, our strengths as a band, establishing a musical identity. The first album, we were still figuring out our sound, so what came out, came out. This time, we had a premeditated blueprint, a real plan’. Tender hopes pen a love note to the future over the cascading sonic flourishes that decorate “Wherever You Are” as Old Newsstrums past memories in “One of These Days”. The Steel Woods trudge through lost love on the slowly chugging rhythms of “Changes” and poke at “The Catfish Song” with pointed guitar notes. The awareness of the opening cut comes back as The Steel Woods ponder the losses in life, holding a mirror to backdated calendar pages wondering “Are the Good Times Really Over (I Wish a Buck Was Still Silver)”. Old Newsshows love for the Southland home of The Steel Woods as the band sing of its Rock traditions with a cover of The Allman Brothers “Whipping Post” and its sensibilities in a version of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers “Southern Accents”.
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