Interview: A Quick Chat with Oliver Wood!

Oliver Wood | Photo by: ©Joshua Black Wilkins 2021
Oliver Wood | Photo by: ©Joshua Black Wilkins 2021

May 12, 2022 – Digital Beat Magazine’s Pix Meyers recently had an opportunity to chat with Oliver Wood of The Wood Brothers about his debut solo album, Always Smilin’ (currently out now via Honey Jar/Thirty Tiger). Oliver kicked off a handful of re-scheduled dates this past Monday (May 9) and graciously took time to discuss the new album and to give us a little insight on what is going on in Oliver’s world before he plays the Hi-Fi in Indianapolis this Friday (May 13th). 

2021 Cover Art courtesy of Calabro Music Media
2021 Cover Art courtesy of Calabro Music Media

Digital Beat Magazine: You hit the road this week for a handful of rescheduled dates due to the pandemic. What can fans look forward to at an Oliver Wood solo show versus what they know from a Wood Brothers show?

Oliver Wood: I’ll be playing songs from my solo album, as well as Wood Brothers songs and covers that I don’t normally get to play.

DBM: Can you tell us a little bit about the musicians accompanying you on these solo dates?

OW: I have Jano Rix, from the Wood Brothers on drums and keyboards. On bass is Ted Pecchio. These guys are some of my favorite musicians and friends and we have a blast together. They’re also featured prominently on the record.

DBM: Let’s talk Always Smilin’ your debut solo album – How do you determine what songs end up in a solo project and which tunes end up as band songs? Is there a different creative process?

OW: Like many others, I found myself with a lot of spare time during the year of quarantine. I just started finishing some song ideas I had started and worked on collaborations with my friends. It started out just for fun but when the songs started piling up, I was encouraged by my management to just make a record and put it out. It was all very casual. 

DBM: You mention the year of quarantine, How did the pandemic play into that creative process?

OW: It certainly gave us things to write about; most important it gave me time and space to do so.

Oliver Wood | Red Rocks Amphitheatre | Sept. 2019 | Photo by: ©Pix Meyers
Oliver Wood | Red Rocks Amphitheatre | Sept. 2019 | Photo by: ©Pix Meyers

DBM: You had the opportunity to collaborate with different musicians on this album including Susan Tedeschi & Tyler Greenwell (of Tedeschi Trucks Band), Phil Cook (of Hiss Golden Messenger), & John Medeski (of Medeski, Martin & Wood) to name a few. Can you give us a little background on how these collaborations came to be? And how did it help shape this new album?

OW: After years of having just enough time and energy for Wood Brothers music and raising a family, I was ready to collaborate with some people outside of the band. Susan, John and Tyler, I’ve known those folks forever and worked with them on and off for years. Phil Cook was a new friend who’s work I really admire – so we made it a point to connect and write things just for fun. My work with him is what got the record started.

DBM: Is there anyone you’d like to collaborate with in the future that you haven’t crossed paths with or scheduling just hasn’t worked out?

OW: Wow! Mavis Staples, Bonnie Raitt

DBM: What have you enjoyed most about these solo dates?

OW: I love playing some smaller venues again; the intimacy and chance to be subtle and connect with the audience.

Oliver Wood | Red Rocks Amphitheatre | Sept. 2019 | Photo by: ©Pix Meyers
Oliver Wood | Red Rocks Amphitheatre | Sept. 2019 | Photo by: ©Pix Meyers

DBM: What is your least favorite thing about being on the road?

OW: Being away from family!

DBM: Do you foresee future solo projects?

OW: Sure, if I can ever find time, I’d love to do more. I’m sure the time will come to do that. 


DBM: Final question. I always like to ask artists What/Who are you currently listening to?

OW: Clifton Chenier and Allen Toussaint are in heavy rotation at the moment.

Digital Beat Magazine would like to extend our thanks to Oliver Wood for taking the time to answer a few questions for us. STAY TUNED to Digital Beat Magazine in the coming week for show coverage of Oliver with Jano Rix and Ted Pecchio from the Hi-Fi in Indianapolis!