Smoke Ring Halo

Smoke Ring Halo

by The Wood Brothers


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Smoke Ring Halo

The third entry into the Wood Brothers' impressive catalog of folk-jazz-blues-gospel-pop is an extension of the first two. Bassist Chris takes a lead vocal, but the brothers' instinctive chemistry remains, and even a horn section on three selections doesn't detract from the difficult-to-categorize hyphenated genre songwriting and exuberant, natural playing. The specter of Bob Dylan -- whose "Buckets of Rain" was covered on the duo's debut -- hovers over these songs, and is especially evident on the harmonica intro to the languid "Pay Attention." But there is also a snarky yet wholesome friskiness running through some of the tunes, in particular the sexy and almost lascivious, spirited first single/video "Shoofly Pie," and the very Tom Waits-influenced clip-cloppy rhythms for the "I've just found heaven with a touch of sin" lyrics of "Stumbled In." Veteran producer/engineer Jim Scott leaves plenty of space in the sound, but fills it out with subtleties and dynamics, especially percussive, which create songs that call you back for additional listens. Oliver's expressive, leisurely voice lingers over syllables like he's singing directly to you, and his evocative words such as those on the title track are, like Dylan's, often obtuse but never alienating. Chris' bubbly, freewheeling, standup bass work is always superb but his playing sets new standards on "When I Was Young." Here his jumpy lines define the song whose lyrics hark back to the singer's younger, more carefree days when the hardest work he had was "waiting for tomorrow," and when he talked about love "but didn't know a thing." Yet highlights such as the introspective "Made It Up the Mountain" work in a far more serious, funky, gospel, singer/songwriter vein aided immensely by John Medeski's organ and some churchy call and response background singing that communicates the message of mistakes made but also the eventual success at finding life's worth, without pretense. The closing acoustic "Blue and Green" ends things on a lovely if somber note as Oliver reflects on his family and their eventual transition to a better place, represented by the titular colors. It connects some of the musical threads that course through the previous nine tracks, leaving the listener on a pensive, melancholy note. This is the first release on Zac Brown's Southern Ground label and bodes well for Brown's returning the support that the Georgia-based musical community provided him for many years.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/02/2011
Label: Southern Ground Arti
UPC: 0816259010123
catalogNumber: 90101
Rank: 43252

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Wood Brothers   Primary Artist
John Medeski   Organ
Jim Scott   Flexatones
Oliver Wood   Guitar,Vocals
Dave Roth   Background Vocals
Chris Wood   Bass,Harmonica,Vocals
Joe Gransden   Trumpet
Clay Cook   Background Vocals
Zac Brown   Background Vocals
Tyler Greenwell   Percussion,Drums
Will Scruggs   Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Joe McGuinness   Background Vocals
Marcus Henderson   Alto Saxophone
Wes Funderberk   Trombone

Technical Credits

Danny Blume   overdub engineer
Jim Scott   Producer,Engineer
Oliver Wood   Composer
Chris Wood   Composer
Clay Cook   overdub engineer
Zac Brown   Executive Producer
Damien Lewis   overdub engineer
Kevin Dean   Engineer

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