"Masters of soulful folk"
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Fittingly titled "One Drop of Truth," the latest entry in the Wood Brothers' evolution finds three musicians being true to themselves. At a point in their career where most artists would be looking to strategically position themselves for even greater commercial success, they instead turned to artistic expression in service of the muse. In chaotic times when honesty is in short supply and ulterior motives seem to always be at play, The Wood Brothers put faith in themselves and ultimately their audience by writing and recording a collection of songs that is honest and pure. As they sing on the album’s title track: "Rather die hungry / than feasting on lies / Give me one drop of truth / I cannot deny." It’s the freest album we’ve done, the most independent album we’ve done, and was the most fun we’ve ever had making a record," says brother Oliver Wood. Indeed the album dives headfirst into a deep wellspring of sounds, styles and influences. Whereas their previous outings have often followed a conceptual and sonic through-line, here the long-standing trio featuring brothers Oliver and Chris Wood along with Jano Rix treat each song as if it were its own short film. The plaintive, country-folk of the album’s opening track “River Takes The Town” gives way to the The Band-esque Americana soul of “Happiness Jones.” The wistful ballad “Strange As It Seems” floats on a cloud of stream of consciousness, standing in stark contrast to “Sky High”—a Saturday night barnburner built upon stinging slide guitar funk. “Seasick Emotions” is rife with turmoil, yet “Sparking Wine” is jaunty and carefree. The end result is undeniably The Wood Brothers’ most dynamic recording to date.
Songwriter Nicki Bluhm is stepping out on her own with her new album, TO RISE YOU GOTTA FALL. The songs were written over a two-year period in Bluhm’s life and chronicle her fundamental life changes, which found the West Coast native living in Nashville, TN. “These songs are the conversations I never got to have, the words I never had the chance to say, and the catharsis I wouldn’t have survived without,” she says. Recorded in Memphis, TN at legendary Sam Phillips Recording, Bluhm brought in producer Matt Ross-Spang (Margo Price, Jason Isbell), for these live band, analog sessions. The studio band includes Will Sexton (guitar), Ross-Spang (guitars), Ken Coomer (drums and percussion), Al Gamble (Hammond B3), Rick Steff (piano), Dave Smith (bass), with Sam Shoup (string arrangements) and various special guests. TO RISE YOU GOTTA FALL tells the story of a woman searching for light among darkness and reveals her emergence as a powerful songwriter and vocalist of great depth and immediacy.