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Ways Not to Lose

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Album Review

The Wood Brothers' debut album is a tense and hushed affair full of weighted lyrics peppered with words like truth, faith, spirit, and soul and more angels than you can shake a stick at, and each song seems tipped right at the edge of indecision and confusion. These are largely Oliver Wood's songs, with his brother Chris Wood (of Medeski, Martin & Wood) adding bass and backing vocals and Kenny Wollesen bringing light drums and percussion to five tracks. Oliver seems frozen in a kind of perpetual spiritual dilemma on these tracks, but what keeps the best of these songs from being exercises in self-centered ennui is the dogged hope that shines through between the cracks. The opener, "One More Day," is a perfect example, as it charts the waters of bleak desolation but then slides into the chorus, which goes "Just when your faith is gone/Give it one more day." The music itself is sparse and languid, a sort of folk-blues mix that isn't in too much of a hurry to resolve itself, which gives these cuts a great deal of tension. It all sounds sad and tragic, but then again, the lyrics ultimately lean toward a hopeful future. Among the highlights on Ways Not to Lose are "Glad," a study in tempered ambivalence, an impressive and atmospheric version of the traditional folk hymn "Angel Band," and the wheezing, ominous "Where My Baby Might Be." There isn't unhinged joy in any of these songs, but the promise that better days might be just around the corner if only the right decisions are made floats over everything here. Ways Not to Lose sounds like a bleak record, and it moves at a relentlessly slow pace, but just as the title carries a kind of guarded hope in happy endings, it believes in the possibilities that personal angels are everywhere in life.

Customer Reviews


How the hell are there zero reviews for this album? Unbelievable album, plain and simple.


Agree with Red Legs - no way to explain the paucity of reviews here.

If you’re one of those people who says “anything” when asked “What kind of music do you listen to?” then buy this album right now. 2 bucks cheaper than others in iTunes too. You’re laughing at how lucky you are to be listening to this album.

Luckiest man

Luckiest man is my favorite song at the moment. Check it out! And, how does this album not have hundreds of great reviews?


Genre: Country

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Brothers Oliver and Chris Wood -- the Wood Brothers -- grew up in Boulder, Colorado, and both left the area after graduating from high school, Oliver moving to Atlanta while Chris ended up in New York. Oliver, a guitarist, discovered he had a knack for writing songs and formed the blues-based King Johnson, which continues to do frequent gigs on the Southern circuit. Chris, a bassist, began playing jazz and rock in New York, eventually teaming up with John Medeski and Billy Martin to form the successful...
Full Bio
Ways Not to Lose, The Wood Brothers
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Customer Ratings