Chris Wood, the bass player in Medeski, Martin & Wood, takes a simple approach when he gets together with his guitar-playing, singing brother, Oliver, in the Wood Brothers. They hadn’t played together for years, but not so long ago Oliver discovered that Chris had a National Steel guitar, one of the most beautiful looking (and sounding) instruments ever made. I guess they started this band so that he could play it.
Earlier this year the Wood Brothers released Ways Not To Lose on Blue Note Records, and frankly, it’s hard to imagine the label would’ve put it out if MMW—who themselves play in Chicago with guitarist John Scofield at the Vic on December 9—hadn’t already released records on Blue Note. It’s not really bad, but calling it slight is a compliment. Oliver plays simple, low-key slide patterns over his brother’s nicely woody lines and sings in a relaxed, almost catatonic warble. The music, which kind of reminds me of early Little Feat without the depth, is hushed blues-rock, with a damper on the rock part of the equation. They perform tomorrow night, Thursday, November 30, at Schubas.