If youre wondering where the music of Nashville troubadour Woody Pines comes from, look to the streets. It was on the streets as a professional busker that Woody first cut his teeth, drawing liberally from the lost back alley anthems and scratchy old 78s of American roots music, whether country blues, jugband, hokum, or hillbilly. Heavy rollicking street performances are the key to some of todays best roots bands, like Old Crow Medicine Show (Woody and OCMS Gill Landry used to tour the country in their own jugband), and theyre the key to Woodys intensely catchy rhythms, jumpy lyrics, and wildly delirious sense of fun. Woody traveled all over the streets of this country, road testing his songs, drawing from the catchiest elements of the music he loved and adding in hopped-up vintage electrification to get that old country dancehall sound down right.
Thats why the songs on his new self-titled release Woody Pines (released May 28 on underground label Muddy Roots Recordings) are so hot. This is gonzo folk music, the kind of raise-the-rafters, boot-shakin jump blues that used to be banging out of juke joints all over the South in the late 1940s, but now its burning into the earholes of a younger generation of Nashville kids, all looking for music with deep roots and something to hang on to.
Its tempting to call Woody Pines newest music rockabilly, and in fact he recorded the new album at Sputnik Studios in Nashville, famous for recording rockabilly and psych-twang heroes JD McPherson, Jack White, and Sturgill Simpson. But it might be more accurate to call Woodys new songs hillbilly boogie; a rarely remembered genre of American music made famous by the Delmore Brothers. Hillbilly boogie sits at the exact moment when the buzzed- out, electrified hillbilly country music of Appalachia (which itself drew heavily from country blues), first hit the sawdust-floored honky-tonks of old Nashville and Memphis. It was the moment exactly before the birth of rock n roll. In Woodys music, theres never an idea that roots music should be a recreation of an older time. Instead, he taps the vein of this music thats still beating today, finding common ground with the old hucksters and bar-hounds who created the music in the first place.
When Woody Pines sings when the train rolls by, I get a faceful of rain, this isnt some hipster dilettante twisting a faux-handlebar mustache and singing about old-timey railroads, this is a dedicated student of Woody Guthrie who used to hop freight trains to get from town to town. This is serious roots music thats as much a way of life as an aesthetic choice. This music isnt for dabblers; you gotta feel it in your bones. Let Woody Pines help.
The Nelson Odeon (View)
4035 Nelson Rd.
Nelson, NY 13035
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