On Friday April 10, The Westcott Theater welcomed back The Wood Brothers to Syracuse. I saw them for the first time a year and a half ago at the same venue. Although a healthy attendance encouraged their return, this proved to be a sold-out show that kicked off with Willie Watson. Watson did join the trio in the middle of their show, but his one-man high-energy show proved to be more than just a vital opener. His switching from acoustic guitar to banjo almost every other song paired well with his charismatic stage presence.
The group consists of Oliver Wood on lead vocals and guitar, Chris Wood (also of Madeski Marin & Wood) on upright bass and vocals, and Jano Rix a multi-instrumentalist on percussion and vocals. The Americana band fuses a variety of genres not limited to folk, blues, country, and bluegrass to create such a show of non-stop singing and dancing.
They opened with Ray Charles on vinyl as they made last minute preparations before actually opening with “Atlas” (from Ways Not to Lose), “Wastin’ My Mind” and “Who the Devil” (both from The Muse). The grooves of “Shoofly Pie” (from Smoke Ring Halo) kept spirits high and feet moving.
“Let’s dance a little bit, it’s Friday night … it’s a springtime party,” coaxed Oliver.
The show was ended with a cover of The Band’s “Ophelia,” and the two-song encore consisted of Michael Jackson’s “P.Y.T.” and a band original, “One More Day.”
Before the show began, I was able to take a minute of Oliver’s time to ask him five questions:
You’re back in Syracuse. Why Syracuse again?
OW: “It’s just where they told me to be tonight. No, it’s part of our routed tour. It makes sense. We love comin’ here, and we’re due to come back.”
What’s the crowd favorite song this year?
OW: “I don’t know yet. Our tour just started; this is only the third night. Sorry, I don’t have a good idea yet.”
What are you listening to right now?
OW: “Shovels & Rope and Freddie King.”
Any word on a new album?
OW: “The new album is finished, and it will be out late August.”
Do you have a favorite road food?
OW: “Mexican food.”