[31 March 2008]
One of The Wood Brothers is Chris Wood (of Medeski, Martin & Wood), but Loaded is an album of songs, rather than instrumental jams. The duo’s primary vocalist is other brother Oliver, who sings a lot like the weary Robbie Robertson of The Band. Coincidently (or not) The Wood Brothers also have a Dylan connection, as this disc includes a cover of Bob’s “Buckets of Rain”. A better cover song, however, is this pair’s version of Jimi Hendrix’s “Angel”, which is given an acoustic reggae treatment and features extra vocals from Amos Lee. One other special guest is Frazey Ford (of The Be Good Tanyas) who lends her vocal help to “Don’t Look Back”. The blues obviously had a large influence on this disc, as these siblings cover the traditional “Make Me Down a Pallet on Your Floor” and work up a fine head of bluesy steam with “Pray Enough”, which is especially fueled by producer John Medeski’s powerful organ. Best of all, there’s not even the hint of compressed fiber on this disc because Loaded is built with beautiful, all-natural wood.