(NEW YORK) — The Wood Brothers’ expansive amalgam of American music-incorporating everything from the plainspoken warmth of vintage country and blues to the liberal rhythmic inventiveness of jazz-carries on with the release of their third album, the atmospherically titled Smoke Ring Halo. The record will be available August 2 on Zac Brown’s imprint Southern Ground.
Brothers Oliver (guitar, vocals) and Chris Wood (bass, vocals, harmonica) deliver a wide-ranging album that is as musically and lyrically provocative as it is natural, nearly homespun. Jim Scott (Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, Lucinda Williams) produced and engineeered.
The rich, spacious sound on songs like the rousing opener “Mary Anna,” the back-porch-funky “Shoofly Pie,” the waltz-time plaint “Pay Attention,” the elegiac title track, and the moving “Blue and Green” are the thoughtful culmination of Chris and Oliver’s divergent musical pursuits. Scott captures it all on two-inch tape for a resonant, organically burnished sound.
Oliver pursued the blues, honing his guitar chops and (eventually) songwriting voice first as a sideman with blues vet Tinsley Ellis, then with his own outfit, King Johnson. Meanwhile, brother Chris eventually settled on the bass, studying formally at the New England Conservatory and participating in recording and jam sessions, such as the one that lead to the formation of the genre-defying trio Medeski Martin & Wood.
The Wood Brothes were featured this past Sunday in a NPR Weekend Edition story about Mason Jar Music – a collective of creative types filming and recording artists in vacant buildings. Check it out here.
To celebrate the release of the first single from Smoke Ring Halo, the band debuted a video for “Shoofly Pie”, which features Zac Brown Band’s Clay Cook