Oliver Wood – Always Smilin’

Oliver Wood - Always Smilin'



3.6/5 Pros

  • Nice instrumental and atmospheric skills
  • Very versatile sound between blues, country and a touch of folk Cons

  • Some songs rather distract me

If you are a Harry Potter fan, I unfortunately have to refer you to my Hogwarts Express posting – Always Smilin’ is not related to the captain and keeper of the Gryffindor Quidditch team. Nonetheless, Oliver Wood became already famous – in the music scene. Together with his brother Chris and Jano Rix, he is part of The Wood Brothers. Now, Oliver Wood tries a solo recording. Release date is 21st May 2021. Here are my thoughts.


Oliver Wood – About The Artist

The bio of Oliver and Chris Wood is however not only determined by their own project. Quite a significant time of their lives, both went separate ways musically. They grew up together in Boulder, Colorado, but Chris then moved to Atlanta and was also quite well-known for different jazz genres. Chris worked with Tinsley Ellis and later formed Medeski Martin & Woods. After some 15 years of split musical paths, The Wood Brothers became a common project in 2001. One of the Wood Brothers albums, the 2018 One Drop of Truth has even been nominated for a Grammy Award. The family project will continue despite Oliver’s solo release.


Oliver Wood – Always Smilin’ – Track by Track

The twelve song album lasts 40 minutes.

1. Kindness

The album starts with some Kindness. The song is something like the hidden title track – the first lyric piece (which is repeated quite frequently) is I know a man who is always smilin’. The chorus is finally stating Kindness is my religion. The song is feeling very classic, a lovely blues strummer.

2. Roots

In the second track Roots, the piano is taking over the main melodic parts. The song is moving more towards a traditional country music vibe, but you cannot eliminate the blues feeling from this song as well.

3. Get the Blues

With that title and based on the experience of the first two songs, it would be quite a surprise if we get a heavy rock track here. Nonetheless, Get The Blues comes with a nice soul touch at the beginning. The longer the song lasts, the more it becomes powerful, but also somehow chaotic. Some parts rather feel like a hodgepodge of sounds than music unfortunately.

4. Came from Nothing

After this exciting (not just in a positive way) occurance, Came from Nothing is relaxingly quiet and melodic. Unfortunately, I again feel that the song starts promising, but finally cannot fully please me.

5. Molasses

This is definitely a title / topic so far underrepresented in the history of music. I feel that the fifth song is doing a better job again in creating a nice musical plot.

6. Fine Line

Fine Line comes with a nice blues spirit and marvelously played organ tunes. I have to admit that the vibes of the song caught me more than getting into the lyrics. But somehow, that’s not too bad as well.

7. The Battle is over (But the War Goes On)

The seventh track on the album is very rhythmic. The bass also has some very groovy parts, so that The Battle is over (But the War Goes On) is a really nice listen.

8. Face of Reason

Face of Reason has been one of the songs promoted as a single. A wise choice in my point of view. The main theme is catching and gives a nice country-feeling contrast to the blues groove. The topping for this nice mixture is a really nice vocal performance and a powerful guitar solo. There is just something for any listener in here.

9. Soul of This Town

The third single release of the album so far rather comes with the touch of an alternative country song to me. I like the way instrumental atmosphere is made in this song. Luckily, just before the song feels to become chaotic again, it is over. Thus, Soul of This Town stays a nice listen.

10. Unbearable Heart

A quiet song with a guitar which feels like no string is really exactly playing the right note is just giving a beautifully dark and sad tune. I just love Unbearable Heart – it is just too special.

11. Climbing High Mountains (Tryin’ To Get Home)

Nice sound again. Oliver Wood is able to create a special moods. The song sounds somehow “dirty” and too distorted, but finally, it is a cool one. One of these “love it or hate it” ones. I hated other songs of this album – this time, I am on the other side.

12. Needed Time (Bonus Track)

The album closes with a bonus. Wood asks Jesus won’t could come by here – now is the needed time. A song, which nicely connects to the tracks right before – and a nice track to close the album.


Oliver Wood – Always Smilin’ – Spotify

Here is Always Similin’ on Spotify:


Oliver Wood – Always Smilin’ – My View

Music is of course always a matter of taste. Always Smilin’ is definitely a stronger “Love it or hate it” one. I feel it is well done, Oliver Wood is definitely strong on the instrumental side and he is creating lovely sounds. There are some songs which rather bother me – but I enjoy the majority of these twelve tracks. A weak statement, maybe, but: I recommend to give it a try and find out if you personally like it. The foundation of Always Smilin’ is a pretty solid one.


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