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iTunes Review

James Jackson Toth has explored psychedelia, neo-folk, and freak-folk (plus amalgams of all three), and on Briarwood he strikes pay dirt. Begun as 7” sessions with former Verbena bassist Duquette Johnston, the chemistry was so good that Toth returned to Johnston’s stomping grounds of Birmingham, Ala., to continue the Wooden Wand brand with Johnston on board as contributor and producer. The songs here are countrified folk-rock, flavored with the rootsy grit of Neil Young, a hint of Bob Dylan, and the lyrical heft and musical twang of Townes Van Zandt. Electric guitars are the order of the day. The dark, haunting tones of 2010’s Death Seat are mostly absent (though the mini-epic “Hotel Stationary” is a brooding beauty). Briarwood is fueled by the richest bar-band essence imaginable, with distorted guitar lines and nimble slide accented with pedal steel, Dobro, and vintage organ notes. “Winter in Kentucky” is a strong contender for a perfect Toth song: a concisely packaged, evocative tune full of familiar musical textures that feel fresh and new.

Customer Reviews

Duquette Johnston Rules

I'll buy anything Duquette Johnston plays on. Massive talent.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Wooden Wand is the alter ego of singer and multi-instrumentalist James Jackson Toth, who alters the band name from one project to the next. Most often working in collaboration with the free improv experimentalists the Vanishing Voice, Wooden Wand mixes folk, jazz, psychedelic, and noise rock influences into a singular blend that exemplifies the scene alternately dubbed alt-folk, freak folk, or the New Weird America. Along with a surfeit of obscure and often self-released...
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Briarwood, Wooden Wand
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