The Week (US)

Oliver Wood

- Always Smilin’

Oliver Wood’s first solo album “will be welcomed by Wood Brothers fans, and may even create new ones,” said Hal Horowitz in AmericanSo­ngwriter .com. Before the pandemic, the “wryly humorous” singersong­writer seldom took time off from touring with the Wood Brothers, a roots trio whose eight “consistent­ly delightful” albums blend folk, blues, pop, gospel, and country. Forced off the road, Wood spent most of 2020 gathering songs he’d written and also hosting jam sessions in Nashville. On the 12-track record that resulted, “the fun he’s having playing with assorted friends shines through.” Susan Tedeschi, Phil Madeira, John Medeski, and Freda McCrary are among the featured guests, said Henry Carrigan in FolkAlley.com. On “Roots,” a gospel tune awash with churchy organ and rollicking piano melodies, “it’s as if Leon Russell met up with Gregg Allman.” Filled with other “funky, bluesy, soulful” songs, Always Smilin’“invites us into Wood’s musical circle for an evening of hand clapping, foot stomping, singing, and dancing.”

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