Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

165

Jon Wood: One to Five

Eric J. Iannelli By

Sign in to view read count
Jon Wood's album is so named because there are between one and five musicians per track, making a total of fifteen musicians altogether; and it took fifteen months to record. Wood is the guitarist in The Fold, a UK folk-rock group. All of his Fold bandmates—including former violinist Eamon McLoughlin, now in the US with The Greencards—appear on this, his first solo effort.

Wood's bluesy, unadorned guitar style is best displayed on instrumental tracks such as "Slow Burn," "Tightrope" and "125mph." The latter of these, a trio with Josie Owens on soprano sax, is One to Five 's best and is perhaps indicative of the direction Wood might have taken with the whole of the album. Instead he has opted to draw on his background in The Fold to produce some garden-variety folk-rock songs, very few of which beg for positive attention.

"It Means Everything" is a decent blues number sung by Leanna Santamaria and accentuated by Owens' alto sax. "The Beat of My Heart," however, is drowning in bad songwriting clichés. As children, we hosted an imaginary radio station in my neighbor's garage, recording impromptu vocal tracks onto a battered old cassette player for our "Top 10 countdown," and this is the sort of stuff we used to come up with.

"In Your Shadow," despite some fine chamber orchestration, falls victim to this same bathos, as does "Maybe Girl." ("Maybe Girl" vocalist David Jordan also glosses the second syllable of "coward" at one point, so at first it sounds as if he's singing, "Yeah, I'm a cow, but at least cows don't get hurt so bad." Thank heavens for liner note lyrics.) Linda Game's violin, earnest but not so taxingly sentimental, saves the song.

The album's real vocal highlight is "Horse Nails." Tobias' (no surname is given) smoky, journeyman vocals atop the acoustic guitar recall Portland-based bluesman Kelly Joe Phelps. Perhaps not surprisingly, Tobias wrote his own lyrics, and they achieve a greater level or subtlety and poetry than anything else on the disc. This suggests that Mudlow, the band Tobias fronts, is worth checking out, or that he and Wood might record a promising album as a duo.

One to Five , then, is something of a curate's egg. A small number of tracks hint at what could have been accomplished had the others been written and performed in a similar style. But the pervasive, embarrassing and clumsy earnestness like that of "The Beat of My Heart" means that there are a lot of songs of middling quality, and they dilute the impact of the better material.


Track Listing: 1. Slow Burn; 2. Horse Nails; 3. Feel Warm Inside; 4. Tightrope; 5. It Means Everything; 6. 125mph; 7. In Your Shadow; 8. Sorry I Missed Your Birthday; 9. Maybe Girl; 10. Beat of My Heart; 11. Tuning, Drop out; Hidden track: The Clown

Personnel: Eamon McLoughlin, violin (1, 11); Tobias, vocals (2); Phil Mills, lap steel guitar (2); Hanna Burchell, vocals (3, 10), backing vocals (7), flute (3); Lenna Santamaria, vocals (5); Josie Owens, alto saxophone (5), soprano saxophone (6); Steve Harrison, bass (5); Simon Cambers, drums (5); Tom Andrews, percussion (6); Steve Holland, vocals (7); Linda Game, violin (7, 9, 10); Gill Emerson, cello (7); David Jordan, vocals (9); Charlie D'aerth, double bass (10); Jon Wood, acoustic guitar

Title: One to Five | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Orange Sky Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Roppongi CD/LP/Track Review Roppongi
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Is Life Long? CD/LP/Track Review Is Life Long?
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Contra la indecision CD/LP/Track Review Contra la indecision
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Vessel in Orbit CD/LP/Track Review Vessel in Orbit
by Don Phipps
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Pulse/Quartet CD/LP/Track Review Pulse/Quartet
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: January 19, 2018
Read OR CD/LP/Track Review OR
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 18, 2018
Read "Time Being" CD/LP/Track Review Time Being
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 12, 2017
Read "Afloat" CD/LP/Track Review Afloat
by Gareth Thompson
Published: November 25, 2017
Read "Gledalec" CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read "Wake Up Call" CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 27, 2017
Read "Innate" CD/LP/Track Review Innate
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: March 29, 2017
Read "Known-Unknown" CD/LP/Track Review Known-Unknown
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: January 22, 2017