Roots-based band is a family affair

The Wood Brothers mix geographical and personal influences.

By Christine Cauthen | Oct. 29, 2010

Tags: Music

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Chris and Oliver Wood’s blues-influenced roots music is a real family matter. The two haven’t always made music together, but the duo still seems to be a natural fit. The brothers' relationship might have something to do with it.

“We were motivated by a family reunion where we just ended up playing music together and hadn’t done so in 10 years or something,” singer-songwriter Oliver Wood said. “And we just had a great time and decided that we wanted to play some more together — for fun if nothing else.”

The brothers live in different parts of the country, but the band brings them together.

“It’s tricky to collaborate when you don’t live near each other, but these days you can e-mail somebody a demo of a song and go back and forth electronically,” Wood said. “We do a lot of that.”

Keeping a band in the family could seem like a nightmare to some. The prospect of bringing family arguments into the career and on tour might seem daunting, but The Wood Brothers love it.

“That’s one of the best things about it,” Wood said. “My brother and I live in different parts of the country, so if it weren’t for us working together and playing together we’d probably never see each other.”

Both brothers bring musical influence from the different regions they live in. Oliver brings roots and soul from the South, while Chris brings jazz and rock 'n’ roll influences from the North.

“You’re always influenced and inspired by other music and other musicians, whether it’s classic people like The Beatles or Ray Charles or whether it’s people that you play with all the time,” Woods said. “As a music appreciator, you get inspired. And as a music collaborator, you get inspired.”

The music The Wood Brothers create gives off an extremely natural and laid-back feel. It’s clear a lot of their influence comes from personal experience.

“You write about things that happen to you or happen in front of you,” Wood said.

Such realistic music is relatable for fans, who appreciate being able to connect to it so easily.

“The best compliment we get out of the music is when people just come up and say, 'I just had a death in the family,' or 'I just had a bad divorce, and your music really helped me through it,'” Wood said. “I like how the music can help people, making them happy or making them dance, or if it’s even deeper and it helps them cope with something. I like the fact that the music is ambiguous enough that different people can get different things from it.”

The two are continuously making new music, even as they tour. And fans might actually be able to hear it sooner than they previously thought.

“We’re always working on new music, and we actually have a brand new album that is coming out after the first of the year,” Wood said. “We actually have a brand new CD that we’ll be bringing with us on this tour, and it’s not released yet, so we’re going to be selling it at shows but it’s not officially released until January or February.”

The Wood Brothers will be performing at 8 p.m. Friday at Mojo’s.

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