The Wood Brothers will bring their rich sibling harmony steeped in roots-inflected blues, folk and rock to Grass Valley audiences at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday during a Center for the Arts performance with an opening set by Seth Walker.
Chris Wood is a founding member of Medeski, Martin and Wood, and Oliver Wood played second guitar with Tinsley Ellis before forming Atlanta roots music powerhouse King Johnson.
From Boulder, Colo., Chris and Oliver Wood grew up listening to American roots music at the feet of their father, a molecular biologist with a passion for performing. Their mother, a poet, taught them a deep appreciation for storytelling and turn of phrase.
In their youth, they discovered classic rock artists like Hendrix and Zeppelin, a listening path that led Oliver Wood to blues influences. Oliver Wood remembers how he became obsessed with the guitar, listening to bluesmen like Lightnin’ Hopkins and Jimmy Reed. Chris Wood studied clarinet and piano and gravitated toward jazz.
In 2004, the brothers seized the opportunity presented by a family reunion and recorded some material together.
“We’d developed our own thing and seemingly different styles and roads, but we were both blown away by how much we had in common. The roots are still there,” Oliver Wood said.
After pursuing separate projects for some 15 years, the brothers finally joined forces in 2005 for their first studio recording, “Ways Not to Lose.”
In 2008, The Wood Brothers released their follow-up album, “Loaded,” landing the duo on National Public Radio’s “Overlooked 11” for that year. “Smoke Ring Halo” is The Wood Brothers third full-length album.
Though the brothers play very different music separately, together they have found a common ground of warm Americana and exhibit a telepathic musical chemistry fused from years of playing together as young boys.
Music audiences around the world were first introduced to Seth Walker with the release of his eponymous long-player on Hyena Records in 2007. It hit the top 20 of the Americana and Living Blues charts and received praise from publications like No Depression, Blues Revue and Maverick UK Magazine.
“Seth Walker is a splendid mix of roots styles: blues, soul and Americana, featuring deep-fried guitar licks, churchy organ and crisp horns, mostly delivered over spot-on shuffles,” wrote one reviewer from Creative Loafing. The Austin-based artist toured extensively throughout 2008, performing at world-renowned festivals like Flat Rock in North Carolina, Springfest in Florida, Rawa Blues Festival in Poland and Moulin Blues in Holland. He headlined shows across the U.S., often playing to sold-out rooms and joining the likes of Johnny Winter, Marcia Ball and Robert Cray for opening appearances.
Tickets for the Wednesday concert are $18 for members, $20 for non-members, available at The Center Box Office, BriarPatch Co-op or online at.