Being a dj is similar to an explorer with some folks even calling dj’s “diggers.” Explorers dig through clues, maps and dirt and dj’s dig through record racks, crates, bootleg cassettes and old wine boxes filled with cds. I have the rare opportunity to be able to share my findings with you, the wwoz listener. To make my whiskey taste even better, my radio slot is the New Orleans music show, encompassing all genres, forward and backward in time. I’m just looking for the next amazing groove.
Sometimes the grooves I find are from bands that have little direct connection to New Orleans but their music just seems to fit. The Tedeschi Trucks Band, The North Mississippi All-stars and now the Wood Brothers. Originally comprised of two brothers, (shocker,) Chris (from Medeski, Martin and Wood fame,) and Oliver (King Johnson.) The duo has since added multi –instrumentalist, Jano Max as an official member on their latest release The Muse, completing their line-up and rounding out the sound. The Brothers have successful careers with their primary bands, in fact MMW are celebrating 20 years, but a night with Oliver sitting in with MMW was the spark, convincing the brothers they should try recording some songs together.
The Woods brothers released their first album Ways Not to Lose, in 2006. A collection of songs steeped in Americana, Folk, Blues, gospel and country influences soak the album through and through, possibly learned from a poet mother and closet folkie father. The music comes across as an effortless performance; two brothers sitting round the campfire strumming (really the campfire is the studio.) The band is equally comfortable with originals and covers (Up above my head, a collection of covers.) The Wood Brothers journey has taken them through seven recordings, both studio and live, including 2013’s The Muse. Definitely check this band out either live or on vinyl.
Ways to lose – “Chocolate on my Tongue”
Loaded – “Postcards from Hell”
Up Above My Head – “ Up Above my Head”
Smoke Ring Halo – “ Mary Anna”
The Muse – “I Got Loaded”
A couple of other recordings to check out in this southern wintry weather, may warm you up just a bit, the first, Foreverly; a collaboration between Green Day front man Billie Joe Armstrong, and southern chanteuse Norah Jones. The album is a re-recording of an Everly Brothers record, Songs our Daddy Taught Us. Foreverly is a pleasantly surprising record, with the harmonies of B.J.A./N.J. doing justice to the Everly brothers. An unknown homage as it was released just days before Phil Everly’s passing. One of the Everly’s talents was their harmony, sometimes convincing listeners of a possible third voice, (check out Roving Gambler on Songs our Daddy Taught Us to see what I mean) and Jones’s voice is a nice compliment to the Everly’s talent. Foreverly introduces listeners to a different Armstrong, focused, enthused as this record was somewhat of an obsession for the punk rock Broadway fella.
The Second is the release by the somewhat super group Hard Working Americans, with their self-titled debut, Hard Working Americans. Comprised of Five members from four other bands, Todd Schnider, Dave Schools (widespread panic,) Duane Trucks (Col. Bruce Hampton,) Neal Casal (Chris Robinson Brotherhood,) and Chad Staehly (Leftover Salmon.) The longevity of this band remains in question because of their primary band commitments, so get it while you can. Some jam band influenced rock n roll, with a focus on groove oriented melody and some interesting perspectives in the lyrics.
Foreverly – “Roving Gambler”
“Silver Haired Daddy of Mine”
Hard Working Americans – “The Mountain Song”
“I Don’t Have a Gun”