The Wood Brothers

With the January release of album "Kingdom In My Mind," the Wood Brothers continue to make music that is difficult to define, but easy to enjoy, melding elements of folk, jazz, rock and blues into a sound that has grown quite distinctive and unique.

To the group's bassist, Chris Wood, this was the plan from the day he and his brother, Oliver, started the group.

"I had a good friend who once told me the hardening of the categories promotes art disease. It's convenient in the industry to be marketable and be defined, but it can be confining as an artist," Wood said in a phone interview.

"So we're always striking that balance. We want our music to be accessible. We're not out to do things that are so out there and challenging. But for me, what's exciting is to create accessible music that is also not what you'd expect musically.

"That's sort of been my fantasy about the Wood Brothers from the very beginning," he elaborated. "I had this fantasy in my head of what if Charles Mingus and Robert Johnson had started a band together, what would that sound like?"

Mingus, of course, is one the greats of jazz, while Johnson was among the most influential pre-World War II bluesmen. And on "Kingdom In My Mind" — as on the Wood Brothers previous albums — those styles surface frequently.

If you go

› What: The Wood Brothers

› Where: Walker Theatre inside Memorial Auditorium, 399 McCallie Ave

› When: 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13

› Admission: $30 and $40

› For more information: 423-757-5580

The Wood Brothers began developing their unique sound in 2003, after King Johnson, a band co-founded by singer/guitarist Oliver Wood, opened a show for Chris Wood's acclaimed forward-looking jazz ensemble, Medeski, Martin & Wood.

The brothers took the opportunity that night to play together and discovered they still connected musically – as well as on a personal level as brothers. They realized they wanted to continue to play together and formed the Wood Brothers.

"Kingdom In My Mind" is the group's seventh full-length studio album. The group has also put out five live releases.

Along the way, the group expanded to a trio with drummer Jano Rix, who started out as a hired hand, becoming a full-fledged band member in 2010.

Wood said he is looking forward to seeing how the new songs translate to the live stage and how the trio can evolve these tunes over the course of the shows.

"There are certain songs that come together in the studio in such a way that you have to reinvent them a little bit for the live performance, which we love to do anyway. And we often rearrange old songs to make them come across a little different, make them interesting in new ways. Yeah, it's all part of the fun challenge," Wood says.

The Wood Brothers will perform Thursday, Feb. 13, at 8 p.m. in Walker Theatre inside Memorial Auditorium.



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