The Wood Brothers have been playing together since 2004, creating folk music that makes you feel as if you’re sitting around a campfire deep in the mountains. I discovered them a few years ago when I fell in love with their song Luckiest Man, from their album Ways Not to Lose. The lead singer, Oliver Wood, has a beautifully clear voice that will rock you to your core. A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to talk to Wood about their upcoming tour and album.
Their new album, One Drop of Truth, hitting shelves last month on February 2. “It’s one of the freest albums we’ve ever done,” Oliver Wood explained. The album took over a year to create as The Wood Brothers took their time to play with new sounds and songs. It is the first album that “[they] produced and paid for [themselves]”, and the songs truly reflect how special a project this was for them.
With ten albums under their belt, crafting a set list can be difficult. “One Drop of Truth is a lot of fun to play live as well as Happiness Jones,” he said. “I’m excited to play Laughin’ and Cryin’.” Their tour officially started January 25th in Charlottesville, VA. According to Wood, they do like to mix up their shows with old and new music, as well as adding in a couple of covers every so often.
The Wood Brothers also enjoy collaborating with different bands and artists. When asked about his favorite past collaborations Wood said, “Collaborating with Bo Carper and the Animal Collective was great, we did some old blues stuff which was a lot of fun.” Dream collaborations for the future prompted him saying, “I’d love to work with Dr. John or Van Morrison.” Wood also mentioned that he is “excited to work with Valerie June at [their] upcoming Nashville show.”
The Wood Brothers performed in Ashland last month. Although they swing by Ashland almost every year, they have not performed here in about four or five years. The singer expressed his excitement to come back as he, “always regrets not coming to Ashland,” when their schedule does not allow it. The Mastersons, a duet from Los Angeles, opened the Ashland show. Wood sounded excited when he mentioned that he got to work with The Mastersons. When asked how the groups met, he replied, “Either Steve Earle introduced us or we met on the road several times.” It sounded like The Mastersons were another group he was thrilled to collaborate with.
It’s been quite a few years since The Wood Brothers have performed in Ashland. Kathryn Henderson, a huge fan of The Wood Brothers, is thrilled to get a chance to see them again. Kathryn saw them for the first time in 2009 and, “thought [she’d] never see this great band play in a small town like Ashland again.” Since then she has attended performances several times at different festivals around the west coast. She is, “…looking forward to seeing this fabulous trio back in Ashland.”
Thanks to Jefferson Public Radio, The Wood Brothers will performed at the SOU Recital Hall recital hall. The process to book the band was long Eric Teele, Director of FM Network Programming at JPR explained that he and his team have been working for, “A couple of years to get all of the specifics nailed down…[and] we’re thrilled it finally came together,” The SOU Recital Hall is, “first and foremost an academic facility,” which means that any school related event takes priority. Often JPR has to, “pass on an artist because the venue just isn’t available when [they] need it.”
The process of booking a band like The Wood Brothers is complicated and long. Starting by, “either reaching out to [the] management of an artist [they’re] interested in bringing to town, or we are contacted by artist management of a performer touring through the area.” A small group gets together at JPR to discuss the level of interest in presenting a particular artist. This panel discusses both the artistic and financial perspectives and makes its decision. Then it moves onto booking; the team finds an available date with the artist and negotiates, “over things like appearance fee, equipment requirements, set lengths, and all sorts of things in the artist’s rider.” Once all of that is worked out the show is announced and tickets go on sale. Eric is heavily involved in discussing specific artists and how they would fit into the culture of Ashland.