The Wood Brothers
Ways Not to Lose
First Appeared in The Music Box, April 2006, Volume 13, #4
Written by John Metzger
Considering his high-profile role as the bassist for the 14-year-old, soul-jazz collective Medeski, Martin and Wood, it undoubtedly is true that Chris is the more famous member of The Wood Brothers. Nevertheless, on Ways Not to Lose, the ensemble’s debut, he generously cedes the spotlight to his older brother Oliver, who — aside from a downright funereal interpretation of the traditional folk tune Angel Band — penned all of the material for the outing. Chris’ jazz-inflected, note-bending bass lines provide textural drive to songs such as Atlas, One More Day, and The Truth Is the Light. Frequently blending Bill Withers with The Black Crowes’ Chris Robinson, Oliver’s soulful vocals, however, bring these erstwhile tracks to life. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the concluding That’s What Angels Can Do, a wearily delivered testament to the healing power of love. Although the duo never manages to reinvent the wheel, they do perform their hybridization of blues, folk, soul, and jazz in perfect synergy, sometimes subtly so, such as when Chris’ bass seems to linger on a note just as Oliver hangs onto a syllable. The relaxed, understated ambience of Ways Not to Lose makes the set easy to overlook, but beneath its surface, a spiritual heart beats that makes the collection’s contents all the more affecting and alluring. ½
Of Further Interest...
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2006 The Music Box