The Wood Brothers have learned to trust their hearts. For the better part of two decades, they’ve cemented their reputation as freethinking songwriters, road warriors, and community builders – that’s the first two statements in the press kit of Heart is the Hero, the 2023 album by the US-American trio. These words seemed to have persuaded me to have a listen to this 14th April 2023 publication – otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to share my thoughts with you.
The Wood Brothers – About The Artists
The Wood Brothers are a folk rock and roots rock band from the United States. Their core is in fact a duo of brothers, Chris (bass) and Oliver (guitars) Wood. The third band member is multi-instrumentalist Jano Rix. Their music is also influenced by blues and jazz elements, where the brothers have some background. Even thought Chris and Oliver grew up in Boulder, Colorado, the trio has been founded in 2004 in New York City. Since then, they released eight studio albums so far. Two of them, Paradise (2015) and One Drop of Truth (2018), even lead the US Heat charts.
The Wood Brothers – Heart is the Hero – Track by Track
The ten track album lasts 39 minutes.
The four minute opener Pilgrim feels rather stripped down, but still illustrates the potential of The Wood Brothers. There are elements of rock, a blues vibe and a folk heart. The keys are the the gem of this track. Nice listen.
2. Heart is the Hero
After the lively opening song, Heart is the Hero is significantly slower. The song has a nice groove, but is also driven by the piano, like its predecessor. Later, other instruments like the harmonica leave a mark. Nice one.
3. Worst Pain of All
The first three songs feel so different. This one is a folk track, which is driven by a very limited rhythmic set. In fact, Jano Rix is using a very reduced drum set in here. The song has a nice vibe, though. Cool.
4. Far From Alone
The fourth track introduces some alternative country vibes to Heart is the Hero. The song starts rather slow, but is then gaining more and more energy. Finally, it is rather rocking and also uses quite a lot of brass sounds.
5. Between the Beats
The fifth song is about slowing down, taking your time. Thus, it is not too surprising that the song is one of the slowest of the album. The title is referring to a meditation technique, by the way.
6. Line Those Pockets
Songs like Line Those Pockets nicely underline the wide range of sounds this trio is able to produce. The bass is creaking in the background and the song overall strongly feels like a modern alternative folk track. Also a very brave decision to use this one as a single release, I feel.
7. Mean Man World
Chris Wood is in the lead for the seventh song. He is thinking about the duties of being father to his little girl. Very good listen and a really nice storytelling.
8. Rollin’ On
The eighth song nicely mixes country music influences with soul elements. This leads to a very nice and fluent listen. The finale feels a bit too lengthy to me, though.
9. Someone for Everyone
The second last track is again having a country music heart, but feels more narrative and theatrical than the predecessors. Very nice song, which is having quite some presence. Nonetheless, the finale of the album is not its most pleasing part.
10. Kitchen Floor
The album closes with its most quiet, slowest and longest listen. Even though the song is quite intense to listen to, I feel it could have even more energy
The Wood Brothers – Heart is the Hero – Spotify
Here is the album on Spotify:
The Wood Brothers – Heart is the Hero – My View
Heart is the Hero illustrates a lot of potential. The trio is mastering their style of music, they are experimental, versatile and entertaining. Sometimes, the result is really good, the last songs feel a bit weaker to me. Nonetheless, I feel that The Wood Brothers created a very enjoyable listen.
2023 US Music Reviews
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