Brotherly Love and Emotion with The Wood Brothers in ATL


The Wood Brothers
Variety Playhouse
Atlanta, GA
May 7, 2011

On a recent beautiful Friday in Atlanta, The Wood Brothers played a special show at Variety Playhouse in Little Five Points. It was special because, after all, guitarist Oliver Wood calls Atlanta home.

After about a 50 minute set from Abigail Washburn, the Wood Brothers (who are touring in front of their upcoming release, Smoke Ring Halo) took to the stage in front of a capacity crowd.  Something was different though. Oliver and the other half of the band, brother Chris of Medeski, Martin and Wood notoriety, have now added full time drummer, Jano Rix, to the rotation.

For this evening, the Variety Playhouse was converted from a standard music hall to an oversized listening room. Where the dance floor usually is had been filled with chairs and a closed curtain.

img_1706.jpgThe curtain opened with the powerful traditional gospel tune, “Ways Not to Lose” and “Angel Band.” Both offerings were filled with enough emotion to make a grown man cry.

The band wound in and out of tunes from all three of their albums, Ways Not to Lose, Loaded, and Smoke Ring Halo as well as a few cover tunes including Beck’s “Sing it Again.” The entire setlist was packed with emotional numbers, but was highlighted by a new fan favorite, “Shoofly Pie”- a tune with three distinct time signatures and harmonies that it seems only a family affair could generate.

Although the show was seated, there were a few dancers off to the side of the room, and those who remained seated grooved from their seats.

Chris Wood showcased why he is the well known bass player that he is. He left jaws dropped with his impeccable grooves on his upright bass.  Not to be out done, Oliver’s infectious guitar danced on top of Chris’ grooves all the night long.

Despite untimely requests from the crowd, The Wood Brothers stayed focused and continued to mesmerize the crowd all night.

After a short break, the band returned to the stage. This time, they had opener Abigail Washburn, her entire band, and Washburn’s husband, the one and only Bela Fleck in tow. Oliver told the story of the tune of choice, “Payday,” an old blues tune by the legendary Mississippi John Hurt. The stellar-casted ensemble played the standard with reverence, but also in a way that was their own.

The Wood Brothers proved why they are one of the most infectious acts on the circuit today. They did so with little fanfare aside from the sold-out performance. Their music is honest and it resonated with the Atlanta crowd on a beautiful Friday evening in Little Five.


Angel Band, Up Above My Head, Mary Anna, Walk Away, One More Day , Postcards from Hell, Sing it Again, Shoofly Pie, Chevrolet, Fall Too Fast, Chocolate on my Tongue, Losin Streak, When I was Young, Nobody’s Fault but Mine (w/ Abigail Washburn and Kai Welch), Stumbled In, Glad, Angel, Atlas

Encore: Payday (with Abigail Washburn and band and Bela Fleck)

Click the thumbnail to view the photo gallery From The Show by Lance Bryant