Way's Not To Lose a stunning debut album of original songs from Oliver and Chris Wood (Medeski Martin & Wood). Like the work of Leon Russell, early Tom Waits, or Dr. John, the songs of The Wood Brothers possess a timeless quality; their bedrock melodies and astutely observed stories sound instantly archetypal. The songs are arranged just as the brothers conceived them expressive yet economical, letting Oliver's coarse, impressionistic guitar work and Chris' nimble, note-bending bass playing speak volumes. Blue Note. 2006.
Modern folk and blues rarely sounds as inventive and colorful as the Wood Brothers' spare, soothing studio debut. Currents of jazz, pop, and country also ripple through these 12 lovely arrangements built around Chris Wood's upright bass (previously heard in Medeski, Martin & Wood) and Oliver Wood's gentle acoustic and electric guitars. It's not simply that the brothers' sweet, high voices have the genetic gift of close harmony: they're in absolute synch creatively, too. So when one's singing lingers over a lazy phrase in a number like the languid ode to living "Chocolate on My Tongue," the other hangs back on his instrument until just the right, complementary moment. Drummer Kenny Wollesen, who plays on a handful of tracks, is on the same wavelength--never rushing or pushing the Woods' behind-the-beat sensibility. And the rich dark tones of the bass and, in particular, slide guitars perfectly illuminate their unhurried stories about spiritual discovery and the trials of life. All of which makes Ways Not to Lose
a delightful, relaxed listening experience. --Ted Drozdowski