The Wood Brothers
Live at the Barn
(Honey Jar Records, 2017)
As the title suggests, the Wood Brothers' latest long player, Live at the Barn, couldn't have been made anywhere else but down the dirt road off Plochmann Lane in Woodstock. Levon Helm's place is more than just a recording studio or boutique venue. It has become a spiritual home, perhaps even more so than Big Pink, one town over, for a specific breed of rustic Catskills rock that bridges sweet Southern soul, early country candor, and the deepest roots of the blues. The Woods have all that in spades, so it seems only fitting that they cut this disc at their first post-Levon Ramble. Guitarist Oliver and bassist Chris sing like—duh—brothers, and that sense of sibling harmony is echoed in their strings as well. They play like snakes intertwining. Drummer Jano Rix might as well be their son, he's so tight. His full press roll on the disc-opening "Mary Anna" would make Levon blush.
Live at The Barn is packed with proof of the combo's wicked elixir. The Peppermint Harris classic "I Got Loaded," done by everyone from Robert Cray to Los Lobos, is laid back, loose, and rocking. If the world's going to get another take of "Trouble in Mind," I'm glad it's this one. And "Ophelia" makes sense in any number of ways, not the least of which is honoring the Band and the Barn. Thewoodbros.com.