Hearing Aide: The Wood Brothers ‘Live At The Fillmore’

Since their inception back in 2004, The Wood Brothers have been creating their own flavor of American traditional music on their own terms. The trio is comprised of brothers Chris (bass & vocals) and Oliver (guitar & vocals) Wood , as well as Jano Rix (percussion & shuitar). Together they have been successful in creating  a unique musical gumbo which includes the combination musical styles including Blues, Folk,  Country, and Rock.

The Wood Brothers also recently received critical acclaim for their latest studio release, 2018’s One Drop Of Truth, which included a Grammy nomination for Best Americana Album. If that weren’t enough to keep the band busy, The Wood Brothers have just released Live At The Fillmore a new live album, their fifth,  that was recorded over a two night stint at San Francisco’s famed musical landmark. The trio is famous for their live performances and the band shines on the stage. The opening track on  Live At The Fillmore  is “Blue and Green,” which is a stripped down, intimate number off of 2011’s Smoke Ring Halo LP. The deft vocals that Oliver and Chris deliver, as well as the ambient noise of the crowd, easily transports the listener to the gig at the historic Fillmore.

The boys tear it up on the third track “Snake Eyes” with a great percussion intro by Rix, which leads into a nicely executed guitar accompaniment  by Oliver, featuring some heavy feedback. The Wood Brothers infectious performance, along with the a little on stage prompting from Oliver persuaded the audience to join the band in the chorus of the upbeat number, creating a vivid picture in the mind’s eye of the listener. The trio’s harmonies were spot on and the track wrapped up with another nice guitar fill by Oliver.

The Wood Brothers keeps the energy flowing with “Raindrop,” the fifth track from Live At The Filmore LP.  Oliver and Jano constructed an intro featuring guitar and percussion which effortlessly leads into the jamming number. With the catchy opening vocal “Broke a heart for a cheap thrill.  Seemed worth it at the time. There’s a hundred of ’em out there still.  You can hear ’em all cryin’,”  Oliver is able to evoke the frustration that anyone can feel while trying to get over a painful breakup.

The sixth tune, “Chocolate On My Tongue,” has an infectious groove that will get your foot tapping along with The Wood Brothers as they expertly ply their trade. Catchy riffs and smooth harmonies make this tune a true gem of a performance and a highlight on the LP.

Overall the fourteen tracks on Live at The Filmore  are successful in proving The Wood Brothers are at their comfort zone on stage, playing for a live audience. It also illustrates how proficient the  trio, who have had extensive time on the road performing, are able to anticipate and coordinate their playing together as a road tested unit. Oliver Wood once said while talking about selecting songs for a set list:  “Sometimes it is like choosing between your children,  you don’t want to have to do that but sometimes you have to.” Luckily for fans of The Wood Brothers, the band chose extremely well on Live At The Filmore, creating a voyeuristic experience where the listener gets to experience the best of two nights in the life of a great live band playing at a historic musical venue.

Key Tracks:  Atlas, Blue & Green, Teardrop

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