MOVE to host The Wood Brothers at Mojo’s

The blues brothers are promoting their new album, "Smoke Ring Halo."

By Alex Stewart | Sept. 23, 2011

Tags: Music

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Sometimes, what you've been searching for has been with you all along. Musically gifted brothers Oliver and Chris Wood learned that lesson the hard way.

The brothers' band, The Wood Brothers, has been long in the making – 15 years long, in fact – after a winding road of separate musical projects, schools and tours. Their individual paths merged with a reunion in 2004 and a compilation of each brother’s talents to make The Wood Brothers.

MOVE Magazine will host the band Thursday, Sept. 29 at Mojo's. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the show starts at 9 p.m.

The group is on tour to promote its third album, "Smoke Ring Halo," released Aug. 2. The record is a mix of Americana and blues, Oliver Wood says.

“Their songs are very real and catchy," Wood Brothers spokesman Jim Walsh says. "They play quite well and the songs are danceable."

After high school, Chris Wood attended the New England Conservatory of Music and later moved to New York City to start his band, Medeski Martin & Wood.

Oliver went to UC Santa Barbara and then moved to Atlanta to perform with Tinsley Ellis. He later created his own band, King Johnson, which released six albums over 12 years.

Then, on a fateful night in Winston-Salem, N.C., Oliver Wood’s King Johnson opened for Chris Woods’ Medeski Martin & Wood. It was there they realized how musically in sync they were. Plus, Oliver Wood added, it was better than a real job.

Originally, just for the hell of it, the brothers made a demo using Oliver’s songs. The manager of Medeski Martin & Wood was so impressed by their collaboration that he passed on their demo to Blue Note Records, where they signed a record deal. And thus, The Wood Brothers was born.

The band has a blues-roots feel that the band describes as Americana roots music.

"(It’s) based on all kinds of American music," Oliver Wood says.

The familial ties to music expand farther than just brotherhood. Chris and Oliver’s childhood includes many a night of their father singing and performing for them and others despite being a molecular biologist by trade. Their mother is a poet.

The Woods brothers combined Oliver’s passion for blues with Chris’ love for jazz to make a concoction of roots, folk, bluegrass and country. They create a sound akin to “Van Morrison meets Tom Waits,” Walsh says.

Oliver Wood cites inspiration for his music from “real life stuff. Funny things, sad things, miserable things, awful things, happy things, sexy things, everything.”

The Wood Brothers have, ironically, been recognized numerous times as being largely unrecognized and underappreciated.

Amazon.com’s editors named the Wood Brothers’ first album, "Ways Not to Lose," their top pick in folk music in 2006. The band's next album, "Loaded," released in 2008, was deemed one of NPR’s “Overlooked 11.”

Two years later, the brothers opened for the Zac Brown Band on tour. Brown then became the executive producer for "Smoke Ring Halo."

While Oliver Wood doesn’t have the sunniest disposition about touring, he claims the music is what makes it worthwhile.

“It’s crappy food, not enough sleep, sitting around, waiting in a bus, van, or plane," he says. "But getting to play music makes it all worth it.”

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