By Max Stewart
Oliver Wood is one of best singer-songwriters in the country, his music oozes equal parts authenticity and groove. He has gone on to establish himself in the world with The Wood Brothers, but his musical roots actually sprouted in the Atlanta area. The Wood Brothers have deservingly grown onto playing theatres and larger venues, so on the heels of releasing his brilliant latest solo album (Always Smilin’), we knew it would be a treat to see some of these songs in smaller setting. The sold out performance in Georgia included Wood Brothers percussionist / jack of all trades Jano Rix and bassist Ted Pecchio (who played with Col. Bruce Hampton and was roommates with Wood in Georgia at one point).
Decatur GA’s Eddie’s Attic is one of the best rooms to see an intimate show in the country. Even whispering in the crowd is frowned upon as audience members are expected to watch the performance and not use concerts as a social hour. This expectation and environment made for a special show, which included Wood Bros staples “Postcards from Hell,” “Luckiest Man,” “One More Day” and tunes from the new record like “Soul of This Town” and “Fine Line.”
The Georgia memories were sprinkled throughout the night and it was a delight for the local crowd.
Wood recalled performing “Chocolate on My Tongue” in the same room years back. He also spoke of being roommates with Pecchio in Tucker, GA on “Mary Anna Dr.”, which coincidentally inspired the tune “Mary Anna.” He spoke of his days at Atlanta’s legendary blues dive Northside Tavern, performing tunes like “Fine Line” with his previous band King Johnson. “Postcards From Hell” was inspired by the longtime Northside performer Donnie McCormick and his famous percussion on the chicken coop. It was also great to hear him speak of another Northside icon Sean Costello, an Atlanta blues legend who would have no doubt gone onto wonderous things before his tragic death.
In fact, recently a superb documentary was released about the Northside Tavern which features an interview and some rare clips of Oliver Wood. It was directed by Hal Jacobs and is now making the rounds at festivals and screenings this year. After attending the premiere at the Plaza Theatre in December, we highly recommend checking it out as it shines a light on the mythology of the storied venue and some of the unsung heroes to perform on the stage. Coy Bowles of Zac Brown Band is featured as well, and I actually chatted with him about Wood at the Eddie’s Attic show as he recalled memories of Wood playing in a former coffee shop in Decatur during his early days.
Overall, the Oliver Wood Trio taps into a different groove with Pecchio on bass, and the songs off Wood’s latest release Always Smilin’ shine in the three-piece. We look forward to seeing The Wood Brothers on the road in larger rooms (they will actually be playing Atlanta’s The Eastern in May), but really savor these smaller performances too.