The Wood Brothers

The Wood Brothers Hit The Ryman On Valentine’s Day

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The Wood Brothers have released their new studio album ‘Kingdom In My Mind’ on Honey Jar/Thirty Tigers. They’ll support the collection with an extensive world tour that brings them to their adopted hometown Nashville, TN for a headline performance at the legendary Ryman Auditorium on Valentine’s Day, Friday, February 14. Buy tickets here.

Recorded over a series of freewheeling, improvised sessions, ‘Kingdom Of My Mind’ is the band’s most spontaneous and experimental work yet. The 11-track effort is a reckoning with circumstance, mortality, and human nature. The material finds strength in accepting what lies beyond our control as it hones in on the bittersweet beauty that underlies doubt and pain and sadness with vivid character studies and unflinching self-examination. While the lyrics dig deep, the arrangements are buoyant and transportive, drawing from a broad sonic and stylistic spectrum.

“We all have these little kingdoms inside of our minds,” says Chris Wood. “And without really planning it out, the songs on this album all ended up exploring that idea in some way or another. They look at the ways we deal with our dreams and our regrets and our fears and our loves.”

On past albums, the band—brothers Oliver and Chris Wood and Jano Rix—would write a batch of songs and then deliberately set out to record them, but when it came to making ‘Kingdom In My Mind,’ they began the process without even realizing it. At the time, the trio thought they were simply breaking in their new Nashville recording studio/rehearsal space, tracking a series of extended instrumental jam sessions as a way to test drive the facility.

“We weren’t performing songs,” continues Oliver. “We were just improvising and letting the music dictate everything. Somebody would start playing, and then we’d all jump into the groove with them and see where it went. Normally when recording, you’re thinking about your parts and your performances, but with these sessions, we were just reacting to each other and having fun in the moment.”

After listening back, the trio realized there was something undeniably alive and uninhibited in what they captured. So, like a sculptor chipping away at a block of marble, Chris took the sprawling improvisations and carefully chiseled out verses and choruses and bridges and solos until distinctive songs began to take shape. From there, the brothers divvied up the material that spoke to them most, penning lyrics both separately and together as they pondered what it takes to know contentment in our chaotic and confusing world.

The jaunty “Little Bit Sweet”, which was born from the band’s very first session, learns to appreciate the ups and downs in the circle of life, while the soulful “Cry Over Nothing” and hypnotic “Little Blue” playfully meditate on ego and perspective, and the infectious, Zydeco-tinged “The One I Love” (listen/share) encapsulates the search for balance between darkness and light through the allure of “a good temptress.”

Tracks like the bluesy “A Dream’s A Dream” and hypnotic “Don’t Think About My Death,” grapple with separating truth from fiction, ultimately coming to terms with the fact that our brains will always find new ways to blur those lines. Though the album advocates for acceptance, it’s not a passive brand The Wood Brothers sing about, but rather one rooted in strength and empowerment. To understand exactly what that means, look no further than album opener “Alabaster”which paints a deeply empathetic portrait of a woman who’s broken free from the shackles of her old life and started over fresh.

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About Jerry Holthouse

Music editor for Nashville.com. Jerry Holthouse is a content writer, songwriter and a graphic designer. He owns and runs Holthouse Creative, a full service creative agency. He is an avid outdoorsman and a lover of everything music. You can contact him at JerryHolthouse@Nashville.com

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