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Savannah Music Festival: The Wood Brothers to close out 17-day fest with a party


Savannah Music Festival: The Wood Brothers to close out 17-day fest with a party

04 Apr 2017

All good things must come to an end.

But the Savannah Music Festival is going out in style April 8 with a sold-out closing night party starring The Wood Brothers.

“I love playing there,” says bassist Chris Wood. “I love the festival.”

Chris will be joined by his brother Oliver, a singer, songwriter and guitarist. Rounding out the group is full-time drummer Jano Rix.

The Wood Brothers combine elements of blues, jazz, reggae, rock ‘n’ roll and gospel music. This will be their fourth festival appearance.

Their latest studio album is “Paradise,” which is about longing and desire and the ways in which the pursuit of fulfillment can keep it out of reach.

Their first album, ‘Ways Not to Lose,” came out in 2006. “Paradise” follows “The Muse,” which was recorded in 2013.

Working so closely with your brother might not work for everyone, but the Woods have it down pat.

“We get along great,” Chris says. “We didn’t start this band until we were grown. Others have the big egos and big ideas.”

The Woods’ father was musical, although he wasn’t a professional musician.

A molecular biologist, he had attended Harvard University in the 1950s, where he hosted a college radio show. Later, he’d play guitar and sing for his sons and his wife, who was a poet.

“He was part of that late ’50s Cambridge folk scene,” Chris says. “He played with Joan Baez in the days before she was famous.

“He would play for family gatherings. He was our first exposure to live music. Our dad also had a record collection we listened to.”

The interest soon became serious.

“We started getting interested in music and guitar and the blues,” Chris says. “We listened to a lot of certain ’60s bands and started tracing back.

“We heard a lot of blues recordings. My brother had a bass and got into guitar and I ended up with the bass. I was really interested in jazz.

“I was in high school when I knew what I wanted to do,” Chris says. “I played in Medeski Martin & Wood, and my brother was part of King Johnson.”

For quite some time, the brothers pursued their musical careers separately.

“At one point, we looked up from what we were doing and realized we had the same job, were both good at it and should do something together at it,” Chris says. “We hadn’t been in touch and it was a way to reunite and combine our different musical universes.”

While Chris says he and Oliver are still waiting for their big break, fans would disagree.

“There’s been a lot of gigs over the years,” Chris says. “Our last studio record came out a year and a half ago.

“More recently, we did a live album. We recorded it at Levon Helm’s barn. We were able to be part of his musical universe in his later years.”

The highly anticipated show in Savannah is already sold out.

“We’ll be doing some older works and some new,” Chris says.

“It’s going to be a mix of stuff and stuff from our last studio record.

“We’re actually working on new music for a new studio record. We might throw some of that out there, too.

“We’ll do all kinds of different things,” Chris says. “I’m sure there will be parts of the show where people will want to get up and move.”

Savannah Music Festival Closing Party with The Wood Brothers

When: 9 p.m. April 8

Where: Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum North Garden, 41 MLK Jr. Blvd.

Cost: Sold out