360

The Wood Brothers: The Wood Brothers: Up Above My Head

Doug Collette By

Sign in to view read count
Highlights of The Wood Brothers' live performances invariably include ingenious renditions of choice covers in addition to their own well-wrought originals. So it stands to reason they'd find it perfectly natural to put together this mini-album of outside material by the likes of Beck and Allen Toussaint, among others.

Returning to the strictly two-piece alignment from which they began and upon which they have built on their successive studio work, Up Above My_Head bristles with joyous energy right from the start of its opening title track. The Wood Brothers' chemistry has proven itself perfectly natural, almost to the point of being uncanny, and the spontaneity of this performance is an ideal example of how they play simultaneously with such abandon and precision.

On Steve Earle's "Mystery Train Pt. 2," the pair moves at a more temperate pace, mixing the gospel strains of the preceding track with a genuine blues element accentuated by Oliver's electric guitar work. Their dual vocals have become an integral part of their work, as Chris becomes more comfortable singing and David Kent's engineering ensures that the warmth and intimacy of the two musicians' playing and singing together remains consistent throughout the CD's eight tracks.

The material becomes more familiar as the tracks unfold, but with "Liza Jane," The Woods keep very fresh that which is familiar. Case in point is The The Beatles' "Fixing a Hole," where the simplicity of their approach highlights not just the melodic structure of the song but its whimsical quality. The latter virtue comes to the fore in Oliver's vocal phrasing, as well as Chris' bass solo and the off-the-cuff tenor of the lyrics thus becomes a performance in itself. Perhaps an even braver choice is "Midnight Rider," so closely identified with Gregg Allman but here retooled and infused with a sense of adventure and possibility, replacing its usually shadowy foreboding.

"Get Out of My Life Woman" may be the most conventional arrangement on the CD, but it stands as a well-sequenced change of pace amidst the novelty that surrounds it. The natural blend of the Woods' voices extends to their complementary musicianship as it is uncanny how they anticipate each other's instrumental moves there and on "Comes Love."

This title's original limited availability at The Wood Brothers is in keeping with the siblings understated approach to their career and the work itself, but Up Above My Head deserves all the attention it can get.


Track Listing: Up Above My Head; Mystery Train Part II; Liza Jane; Fixing a Hole; Get Out My Life Woman Sing It Again; Midnight Rider; Comes Love.

Personnel: Oliver Wood: guitar, vocals; Chris Wood: bass, vocals.

Title: The Wood Brothers: Up Above My Head | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Self Produced


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Signal 9 CD/LP/Track Review Signal 9
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 22, 2017
Read For the Love of You CD/LP/Track Review For the Love of You
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2017
Read "Kami Fusen" CD/LP/Track Review Kami Fusen
by John Sharpe
Published: October 12, 2017
Read "Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends" CD/LP/Track Review Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 16, 2017
Read "Nightfall" CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: October 11, 2017
Read "Lost at Last" CD/LP/Track Review Lost at Last
by Geno Thackara
Published: November 10, 2016
Read "Back In Your Own Backyard" CD/LP/Track Review Back In Your Own Backyard
by Budd Kopman
Published: March 25, 2017
Read "Reflections" CD/LP/Track Review Reflections
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: March 11, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.