A good, solid, honest Americana album takes a fuckton of talent or a shitload of luck. I’m sure having a bit of both wouldn’t hurt either. But when you’re walking onto stages that have been used by Wilco, Lucinda Williams, Gillian Welch, Steve Earle, Ryan Adams, Loretta Lynn, Jason Isbell, and Justin Townes Earle, those cowboy boots are going fit extra snug underneath those blinding flood lights. Worst off, this genre is littered with pure garbage musicians giving half a shit about what they do. Seems like some motherfuckers think that if you can half-play guitar, and that if your genitals look somewhat decent in jeans, that you’ll be a star. Fuck that and fuck them. When you start listen to music with your ears instead of your eyes, it’s pretty obvious who’s better than the rest. Hint: it’s often not those with mysterious eyes and rock star hair or that cleavage and fuck me lips.
Meet The Wood Brothers. They’ve been playing since 2004 and have released eleven albums, four of which are live. Here’s a free hint: if someone releases this many live albums, it’s either because they’re ridiculously fucking good live, or one of them is a sound engineer. None of these motherfuckers are sound engineers. Ever since 2004 I rest easy with each Wood Brothers release. While other new Americana albums shit the bed, take too many drugs, or can’t write a decent song anymore, The Wood Brothers keep writing and playing with ease. They breathe and live this shit. By the way, the “Brothers” tag isn’t for show. Chris and Oliver Wood are, well, brothers. The third member of this trio, Jano Rix, just happens to be as ridiculously fucking good at music as well. (If you’re a jazz head, you’ll know Chris Wood from his band jazz trio Medeski Martin & Wood which often tours with John Scofield.)
What grabbed me about this album in particular were its themes and lyrics. These dudes don’t need something personal or deep in order to write a nice song. These motherfuckers could sing about grass growing, paint drying, and your grandmother’s dry mothball farts and I’d still be tapping my toes. They’re just great fucking players. I expected to hear an album that would launch them into Americana stardom. Instead, they kept the shit fucking real. There are themes of struggle and the wisdom that comes from getting fucked over. There’s a song about people’s obsession with the pursuit of perfection or “happiness” in the song “Happiness Jones”. Whatever the themes may be, the songs are thick and honest. They didn’t need to fucking do that. If this shit was for cash, they definitely shouldn’t have fucking done that. It will not make the sales that another album, which they could have easily made, would have. They made a decision between potential stardom and authenticity. Thank Christ these motherfuckers don’t sweat underneath flood lights.