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Track By Track: The Wood Brothers One Drop of Truth

Dean Budnick | March 13, 2018
Alysse Gafkjen

"This is the most fun I’ve ever had recording,” Oliver Wood says of the sessions that led to The Wood Brothers’ new album, One Drop of Truth. The group’s prior albums were the product of regimented approaches that found them completing a touring cycle, focusing on songwriting and then booking a few weeks of studio time with a producer. For their latest release, guitarist/vocalist Oliver, his bassist/vocalist brother Chris and drummer/ multi-instrumentalist Jano Rix opted for a more open-ended method.

“What we did differently this time, and what we fantasized about doing for a long time, was spreading out a really loose process of writing and recording so that not everything happened at once,” Oliver continues. “We would write one or two songs and then we would go into the studio and record those two songs, and maybe even think of them as demos, but it was casual, fun and low-pressure. The idea was just to spread out the creation of the album over a full year. Another thing we did differently is we didn’t record all of it at one place. We used two different studios [in Nashville] that were very sonically different and had different vibes. It was fun to do it, and I’ve learned that’s a big thing—how much you enjoy the process.”

The Wood Brothers tapped a team of engineers to mix One Drop of Truth’s tracks, including Trina Shoemaker, Scotty Hard, Mike Poole and Brandon Belle. As for the musical goals that informed the sessions, Chris explains, “For us, it’s all about connecting people. We like to bring all those worlds together. That’s the beauty of the music. In the very beginning [2004], we weren’t a band yet; we were just two guys with different music careers. So we were wondering, ‘Where do we start? What do we do?’ The logical place to start was that Oliver had this band, King Johnson, that had written some great songs, but didn’t exist anymore, so we just rearranged some of those existing songs for a duo. Then, around the same time we wrote the first original Wood Brothers songs, we were already in a headspace where we could take an existing song and completely change the rhythmic feel, the key, all the different parts and even the melody and the form. It’s all up for grabs. That’s the freedom that I enjoyed with Medeski Martin & Wood, and I wanted to bring that into a singer-songwriter context.”