I’m going to be very frank. I don’t know who The Wood Brothers are. But I do know Seth Walker. And if he is playing with and offering solo support for them, they must be good. That said, Seth Walker is reason alone that I’ve been counting down the days for his first stop in Southern California in more than a year.
In two words, LA: be there.
Who: Seth Walker, Solo Support for The Wood Brothers
Where: Largo at the Coronet, 366 N La Cienega Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90048
When: Friday, Feb 1 @ 8 pm (Doors at 7 pm)
Living in Austin for three years was an education in music for me. I’d been a lover of music of all kinds my whole life, so putting me into that city was literally like putting a kid into a candy shop or a pig in mud to use two overly-used but inherently appropriate cliche analogies.
When I first heard Seth Walker’s crooning, it was at Austin’s legendary Continental Club in 2007. An Austin music promoter extraordinnaire Marsha Milam (whom I was working with at the time and who was offering some support to Walker) invited me to join her. I walked in to hear Seth’s bluesy, soulful sound as couples and people filled the small space, not just listening and bobbing their heads along but dancing! Two stepping, waltzing, swinging, it didn’t matter. They could feel the music and they wanted to move, sway, and groove. It was intoxicating.
From that moment on, I didn’t miss a show of his in Austin. With each performance, big or small, he was consistent, delivering that smooth, bluesy soul that was like a throwback to a simpler time, before musicians resorted to electronic synthesizers, auto-tuning, animatronics, and pyrotechincs to create an atmosphere or a sound. A time when a great voice, a guitar or piano and a stiff bourbon in a candlelit room was all you needed or wanted to set the mood.
His style is hard to explain — let’s say it’s Americana meets country-folk meets R&B with a twist of Frank, a respectful nod to Ray Charles’ traditional blues, and a splash of gospel. Beyond the talent and the music, however, North Carolina native Walker happens to be a phenomenally nice, genuine, and down-to-earth person which makes the likeability factor go up tenfold.
From Walker’s website:
Time is relative: if you’re just going through the motions, the minutes and hours sluggishly drag on. When you’re doing what you love, the days fly by. In the three years since his last album, Seth Walker moved to Nashville from Austin, wrote songs with friends new and old, and played many, many shows.
And just like most people, he thought about life, about love, and about the changes we all experience as you move away (both geographically and philosophically) from those people and places you know so well to try your hand at something new. His latest recording Time Can Change (released June 2012) is a culmination of these experiences—the sound of an artist moving beyond his comfort zone and challenging himself to walk new creative ground.
“The album is a snapshot of movement in my musical journey of sorts,” states Walker. “A culmination of the continuing search for a way to write, sing and record in a new way.”
Self-produced and unequivocally personal, Time Can Change is a distinct departure from its more polished predecessor. While fans will recognize the familiar rich tenor and bluesy guitar work, the new album trades the studio sophistication of Leap of Faith for a grittier sound and more intimate approach to songwriting.
“I never know what will be on the other side of a song or a session, but I sure do like what I have found in the corners of this album: a stripped down, intimate version of what I am as an artist at this point in my life,” says Walker.“This is the purest, most honest recording I have ever done as a singer. I just sang and played… Time can definitely change, and this album is a case in point for me.”
For more on Seth Walker, visit his website.
For tickets to the show on Friday, Feb 1, visit Largo’s website here.
UPDATE: We received an email after this post ran sharing the following about the Wood Brothers for us and you to get more familiar with them if you’re not already… See y’all at the show!
About the Wood Brothers:
The Wood Brothers might not extol any particular religious values, but the atmosphere created at their performances is not unlike an old-school revival; there’s a whole lot of sweatin’, shoutin’, stompin’ and singin’ happening. This winter, they’ll be gathering the faithful across the West Coast on a ten date tour that stops at Largo in Los Angeles on Friday, February 1.
The Wood Brothers–comprised by brothers Oliver Wood (lead vocals & guitar) and Chris Wood (bass & background vocals) along with Jano Rix (drums)–are touring in support of a pair of new live albums: Live, Volume One: Sky High and Live, Volume Two: Nail & Tooth on Southern Ground Records. Since forming eight years ago, The Wood Brothers have fine-tuned their sound, which touches on elements of folk, blues, jazz and classic R&B, with countless live shows. A rollicking trio, they’re capable of holding their own supporting artists like Zac Brown in 10,000-seat arenas, captivating theaters filled with a thousand fans or holding sway over 200 patrons in a small rock club. Along with their two recent live releases, The Wood Brothers have recorded three studio albums (Smoke Ring Halo, Loaded and Ways Not To Lose) and a covers EP (Up Above My Head).
Although Chris and Oliver Wood have an undeniable musical chemistry, it took them many years to recognize and acknowledge it. Both men left their childhood home in Colorado after their respective high school graduations. After a pit stop or two, Oliver ultimately landed on the Atlanta rock scene, while Chris headed directly for New York City with the aim of “becoming a sideman for a well-known jazz musician.” Though Oliver had several notable projects along the way, his main gig was fronting the blues/roots band King Johnson, while Chris formed instrumental jazz trio Medeski Martin & Wood, a band in which he still plays.
“It didn’t really occur to us that we wanted to play together that early on,” Oliver says. “I think we wanted to get out in the world and find our own paths. For whatever reason, we chose different paths.”
The two essentially spent 15 years in infrequent contact before recognizing their connection and common potential through a shared encounter. During a show in North Carolina with MMW and King Johnson sharing the bill, Oliver sat in with his brother’s band, and the two talented musicians finally recognized and appreciated their connection.
“It was just really strange the way that I recognized every musical gesture that he did,” Chris remembers of the show. “It was like looking in a mirror; I just got it. At that point, it was obvious that we should make music together.”
As The Wood Brothers, Oliver’s soulful, Van Morrison-meets-Freddie King vocals weave unforgettable melodies on top of his gritty and nimble slide guitar while Chris’ jazz-inspired double bass pulses underneath the surface, his high lonesome harmonies soaring far above the fray. Behind it all, Rix’s drums lend additional weight to the music and his vocal harmonies allow the trio to add even more dynamics. The Wood Brothers’ collaboration has yielded an ever-growing batch of songs that sound impossibly accomplished.
MMW’s John Medeski, who produced the first two Wood Brothers albums, Ways Not To Lose and Loaded, once said, “I can’t tell you how many of Oliver’s songs I thought were old traditional standards. They just sound classic.”
Though all three members of the band maintain residences in different states—a situation that the brothers plan to address within the year, as they work to further cement the band’s status as a can’t-miss live act with a stable of amazing songs—they have a work ethic while on the road that enables them to write new material while continually honing the “old” stuff; the results of their recent live albums, Sky High and Tooth & Nail, are tangible proof of the band’s desire and ability to evolve.
“You get over some kind of hump and you get just burned out enough to where you know you know the music inside and out,” Chris said. “You stop caring about everything going perfectly, and that’s when the magic things happen.”
The Wood Brothers | West Coast Tour Dates
January 31 | Belly Up | Solana Beach, CA
February 1 | Largo at The Coronet | Los Angeles, CA
February 2 | Great American Music Hall | San Francisco, CA
February 4 | Don Quixote’s | Felton, CA
February 5 | McNear’s Mystic Theater | Petaluma, CA
February 6 | The Center For The Arts | Grass Valley, CA
February 7 | WOW Hall | Eugene, OR
February 8 | Aladdin Theater | Portland, OR
February 9 | The Crocodile | Seattle, WA
February 10 | The Rio | Vancouver, Canada
Lindsay Taub is an LA-based writer/editor who covers travel, lifestyle, culture, music/arts, food, wellness, and more. She calls Los Angeles home when she's there, but prefers to leave the city for the mountains and open spaces as often as possible. She loves cooking, gardening, live music, hiking with her three rescue dogs, and rustic luxury. Follow her on instagram/twitter @lindsaytaub and follow the Pacific Punch @ThePacificPunch or email email@example.com. Learn more at www.lindsaytaub.com and www.voyagevixens.com .***