Monday, October 17, 2016

W Is For . . .

26 artists, A to Z. Coming into the home stretch...

The Wood Brothers / "Sing About It"

There's something about the double-bass that I've always loved. (Remember that scene from the classic movie Some Like It Hot?

Any track that starts with a lone stand-up bass is a good track in my book. Herewith, this funk-grooved track from the Wood Brothers'  2013 album The Muse. 

Steeped in roots music throughout their Colorado childhood, for a while Chris and Oliver Wood took very different paths -- bassist Chris went off to conservatory and founded the avant-garde jazz trio Medeski, Martin & Wood, while Oliver headed to Atlanta and became the guitarist/lead singer in the R&B/funk/country band King Johnson. But some sort of gravity brought them back together in 2006, and they've been recording as a trio with the very talented multi-instrumentalist Jano Rix. I love how these guys, now based in Nashville (because why not?), meld all their influences -- jazz, bluegrass, gospel, folk, the whole damn American songbook bag -- into a souffle of soulful joy. 

Once the bass has laid down that groove, the other sounds layer in, yet there's a simple clarity to this song. It's gospel call-and-response, with a range of questions -- "If you get worried," "If you get lost," "If you get broken" -- to which the only answer is, over and over, "What you ought to do is sing."

Amen to that. If you love music, singing your heart out IS the key to everything.

In the bridge, Oliver's raspy Americana voice flings itself on the altar, declaring, "Sing about joy / Sing about love and hopin' it lasts / Sing about your trouble / And it just might pass." But what really makes it work? The other guys chiming in, their harmonies lifting each phrase, resolving the chords into a corduroyed sort of richness. Because none of us do this alone.

This trio has such musical chops, but what makes them special is something else, something that can't be faked: They've got heart. Please please please PLEASE check out more of their music. It's crazy good.

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