The Wood Brothers

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The Wood Brothers
The Wood Brothers.jpg
Background information
Origin New York City
Genres Folk Blues
Years active 2004–present
Labels Blue Note (2006-2008)
Southern Ground Records
Associated acts The Revivalists, Medeski Martin & Wood, King Johnson
Members Oliver Wood
Chris Wood
Jano Rix

The Wood Brothers are an American folk band consisting of brothers Chris (Upright Bass) and Oliver Wood (Acoustic and electric guitars), as well as multi-instrumentalist Jano Rix.


From early in their childhood in Boulder, Colorado, Chris and Oliver were steeped in American roots music. Their father, a molecular biologist, performed classic songs at camp fires and family gatherings, while their mother, a poet, instilled a passion for storytelling and turn of phrase. The brothers bonded over bluesmen such as Jimmy Reed and Lightnin' Hopkins, but their paths, musical and otherwise, would diverge.

Oliver moved to Atlanta, where he played guitar in cover bands before earning a spot in Tinsley Ellis’s touring act. At Ellis’s behest, Oliver began to sing and then founded King Johnson, a hard-touring group that released six albums of blues-inflected R&B, funk and country over the next 12 years. Chris, meanwhile, studied jazz bass at the New England Conservatory of Music, moved to New York City and, in the early 1990s, formed Medeski Martin & Wood (MMW), which over the next two decades would become a cornerstone of contemporary jazz and abstract music.

After pursuing separate musical careers for some 15 years, the brothers performed together at a show in North Carolina: Oliver sat in with MMW following King Johnson’s opening set. "I realized we should be playing music together," Chris recalled.[1]


Soon after, the pair recorded a batch of Oliver’s songs, channeling the shared musical heroes of their youth while seizing on their own individual strengths — Oliver’s songwriting and Chris’s forward-thinking musicianship. A demo landed them a recording contract with Blue Note, who released Ways Not To Lose in 2006. Follow-up Loaded came in 2008; after covers EP Up Above My Head the next year, the band moved to Nashville’s Southern Ground Artists for Smoke Ring Halo, 2012’s Live, Volume One: Sky High and Live, Volume Two: Nail and Tooth. In October 2013 the Wood Brothers fifth and latest studio release, The Muse was released with Buddy Miller serving as record producer.

Their first studio album, Ways Not to Lose, was produced by John Medeski. It was recorded at Allaire Studios in Shokan, New York in September 2005 and released in 2006 on Blue Note Records. Ways Not to Lose was the editors' number one pick in folk for that year,[2] and the album also made NPR's "Overlooked 11" of 2006.

The Muse was recorded at Southern Ground Studios in Nashville. The Wood Brothers are now officially a Nashville-based band, with Oliver having relocated in 2012, and Chris recently following. It was the first time the brothers have lived in the same city since early adulthood.[3] Their follow-up album, Paradise, was the first album in which all three members of the Wood Brothers share songwriting credits, due to the fact they were all living in Nashville and could work together on songs.[4]


Title Details Peak chart positions Sales
US Country US US Heat US Indie US Folk US Rock
Live at Tonic EP
  • Release date: 2005
  • Label: Junketboy
Ways Not to Lose
  • Release date: April 1, 2008
  • Label: Blue Note Records
Up Above My Head
  • Release date: June 9, 2009
  • Label: Indirecto Records
Smoke Ring Halo
  • Release date: August 2, 2011
  • Label: Southern Ground
Live: Volume One: Sky High
  • Release date: May 8, 2012
  • Label: Southern Ground
Live: Volume Two: Nail and Tooth
  • Release date: August 12, 2012
  • Label: Southern Ground
The Muse
  • Release date: October 1, 2013
  • Label: Southern Ground
22 145 3 28 10 44
  • Release date: October 2, 2015
  • Label: Honey Jar
12 1 25 6 43
Live at the Barn
  • Release date: January 13, 2017
  • Label: Honey Jar
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


  1. ^ "Wood Brothers - Interview & Music". Americana Music Show. 2013-10-14. Retrieved 2013-11-23. 
  2. ^ "Best of 2006: Editors' Picks in Folk". Retrieved 2013-11-23. 
  3. ^ from an interview with Oliver Wood on the Americana Music Show #276, published December 8, 2015
  4. ^ from an interview with Oliver Wood on the Americana Music Show #276, published December 8, 2015
  5. ^ Bjorke, Matt (October 12, 2015). "Top 10 Country Albums Chart: October 12, 2015". Roughstock. 

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