Two brothers decide to form a band, adapting the blues, folk and other roots-music sounds they loved as kids into their own evocative sound and twining their voices in the sort of high-lonesome harmony blend for which sibling singers are often renowned. While that’s not a terribly unusual story, Oliver Wood (guitar, vocals) and Chris Wood (bass, vocals, harmonica) took a twisty path to their ultimate collaboration.
Indeed, The Wood Brothers pursued separate projects for some 15 years before joining forces. Originally hailing from Boulder, Colorado, Chris and Oliver imbibed the heady tones and stories of American roots music – notably folk, blues, bluegrass and country – at the feet of their father, a molecular biologist with a passion for music and performing. Their mother, a poet, meanwhile, taught them a deep appreciation for storytelling and turn of phrase.
Oliver ended up in Atlanta, soaking up the roots of blues, the soul of the south and founded his band, King Johnson. Chris ended up in New York City and formed the hugely influential, instrumental trio Medeski Martin & Wood.In 2004, the brothers seized the opportunity presented by a family reunion andrecorded some material together. 2006 saw the release of their debut album, Ways Not to Lose, which was named top pick in folk by Amazon.com’s editors that year. “Modern folk and blues rarely sounds as inventive and colorful,” declared Amazon reviewers. The brothers’ sophomore release, Loaded (2008), was heralded as one of NPR’s “Overlooked 11.” Both albums were produced by Chris’ MMW bandmate, John Medeski.
In August, 2011, The Wood Brothers released their third full-length studio album, titled Smoke Ring Halo, on Zac Brown’s independent record label, Southern Ground Artists. Produced and engineered by Jim Scott (Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, Lucinda Williams), Smoke Ring Halo has received critical praise. Paste Magazine lauds "Smoke Ring Halo only further cements the pair’s reputation as masters of soulful folk." And Nate Chien of the New York Times exclaims, "This band has been working at something and it shows."