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Album Review

The Wood Brothers are hard to pin down — they play a sort of Americana version of jazz, or country with an edge, or folk with some rhythmic bite, or maybe secular gospel with a touch of swing. At their best, they create the best blend of vernacular American roots music since the Band folded, and while there are a lot of neo-Americana bands out there who critics keep claiming sound like the Band, well, these guys actually do. The Buddy Miller-produced The Muse is their fourth album, and while the previous three releases were pretty darn great, this one is arguably even better, a step forward into a fuller, rounder, and more complete sound, anchored, as always, by Chris Wood's wonderful acoustic basslines (his day job is playing bass for Medeski, Martin & Wood) and Oliver Wood's backwoods vocal style and sharp, literate songwriting skills. This album is a gem, opening with the best song yet by the Band that wasn't written or recorded by the Band, "Wastin' My Mind," and continuing the feel with "Neon Tombstone," "Honey Jar," "Sweet Maria" (a bit of folk cabaret, really), the barroom ballad shuffle "I Got Loaded," and the set closer, "Firewater," which comes complete with a boozy horn section that makes it sound like an outtake from the Band's Rock of Ages. The Wood Brothers aren't the second coming of the Band, of course (such a thing will most likely never happen), but they draw on the same wellspring of blues, gospel, folk, country, and R&B to arrive in a similar place, suggesting a rural America where myths are born and made real with music, a place where current fashion is useless, a place where a trip to the local juke for some backwoods jazzy honky tonk gospel blues is nigh near a trip to Heaven.

Customer Reviews

Such a groovy record!

I was fortunate enough to grab an advance copy at a show and this is by far their best work yet. The title track "The Muse" is the sweetest, most well-written song that I've heard in a long time and I cannot get it out of my head. I also find myself dancing in my car when "Honey Jar" comes on. Highly recommend this!!

They just keep getting better and better

Been a Wood Brothers' fan for several years. I went to a WB show just to get an advance copy of this CD and I was not disappointed (great show too, by the way).

This album is next level stuff and is their best effort so far. The incorporation of Jano Rix on percussion, shuitar and harmonium into the band is now complete. They are now a bona fide trio, and it shows. The album flows easily from driving funky grooves that hearken to the best material put out by The Band, Little Feat, etc. to heartfelt acoustic soul and spirit. Plus, the "sound" of is amazing, due to their insistence on using some old-timey recording methods.

And, DO NOT forget to pay attention to the lyrics. They are amazing, spiritual, uplifting.

All I can say is "wow" and "thank you".

Wood Brothers are FANTASTIC

I also picked up at a show this week. The Muse is truly a beautifuly song and you can't help but sing along with Sing About It. Great from beginning to end.

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