Roots, Ragtime & Country Blues
By David McIntyre
Woody Pines, with his energetic brand of roots music, ragtime, country blues, and viper jazz transports you to the Mississippi Delta when AM radio was king. The band, comprised of Woody Pines on banjo, guitar, harmonica, and lead vocals; Zack Pozebanchuck on upright bass; Mike Gray on drums' and Lyon Graulty on clarinet, lead guitar and vocal
harmony epitomizes the Dixieland sound and embraces a simpler time.
If Pines’ elegantly disheveled fedora and vintage resonator guitar don’t set the mood (both are strongly suggestive of the musician’s mix of ragtime, country ,blues and lightning-speed folk), the backing band does the trick. Crackerjack musicianship goes a long way to a band’s greatness, but showmanship seals the deal. Pines on stage is an old soul and natural performer, storied and steeped in the best of Americana.
After having these guys at Oskar’s last November, I was knocked out by their fine music and style and am very excited for their return trip this Friday, June 21. Live, the group infuses a hundred years of American music into their performance; everything from early 20th century acoustic blues and rock-a-billy, to the sounds of the White Strips and The Black Keys. They even drop some hip-hop vibes in their mix. It’s a fast paced, swinging, high-energy show. They create a rock-a-billy, Halloween hootenanny that could have come straight out of a time traveling Vaudeville show.
Woody and the band have recently released a new CD, “Rabbit’s Motel.” Woody plays with the American traditions he fell in love with years ago as a teenager. He subverts these traditions, pressing them into new shapes, forcing them through new genres, and building a new sound out of the junkyard scraps from over a century of recorded music. This CD should come equipped with a “don’t try this at home” warning! Unless you’ve actually traveled the back roads of America, like Woody, or unless you have spent countless hours pouring over old 78s learning mostly old forgotten tunes, don’t try what he is attempting here! The reason Woody can push the envelope the way he does is because he likes the music so much.
Woody was a founding member of the Kitchen Syncopators, a legendary busking street jug band from Eugene, Oregon that was one of the most exciting acts to emerge out of the west coast folk scene in recent history. Shortly after the syncopators dissolved, Woody Pines wasted no time and shot off on his own, embarking on a solo career interpreting his vision of American roots music. Woody’s performances and recordings are full of stomp and swing, and jump and jive. It’s old time feel good music done by a young master who clearly understands that his kind of music was always about having a great time.
Roots, Ragtime & Country Blues
Woody Pines won legions of new fans when they toured the UK a couple of years ago. The Scotsman said they played “a rollicking, engaging, idiosyncratic amalgam of American old-time blues and jug band, the songs of Cajun queens, dusty highways, and speakeasies informed not only by squalling harmonica and thumping bass, but a conviction that makes them sound about six decades older than they really are.” Woody has played shows all over the south, including a stop in Nashville for a guest appearance at the Grand Ole Opry with friends Old Crow Medicine Show. Today Woody continues to find ways to reshape the old music, weaving stories from timeless threads. He combines freak realism and vaudeville showmanship with the sincerity and grace of the rich, traditional landscape of roots music. Woody plays with foot stomping gusto but knows when to croon a lazy mountain ballad. These guys put on a great show and fans of American roots music shouldn’t miss this one.