The Wood Brothers
Live Volume One-Sky High Live Volume Two-Nail and Tooth
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Rather than release one hour long disc, singer/songwriter/guitarist Oliver and bassist brother Chris Wood (best known through his work with Medeski, Martin & Wood) deliver two shorter ones that run a half hour each. Last May’s Sky High is followed four months later by Nail & Tooth. Both show how the live setting pushes the sibling’s already elastic folk/jazz/rock/soul/gospel to new heights that the studio versions, as good as they are from the duo’s three albums and one studio EP, just hint at. The twosome is joined by drums and lapsteel on both EPs further expanding the sound. On Nail & Tooth (dedicated to Levon Helm), they dig into covers from Sister Rosetta Tharpe, an electrifying version of Allen Toussaint’s often covered “Get Out of My Life Woman” and a stirring take on the traditional “Ain’t No More Cane” that Helm sang on The Basement Tapes. Oliver’s nasal delivery dovetails beautifully with Chris’ fat bass lines, revealing American music whose traditional roots never seem stale or musty, especially on stage where the Wood brothers are clearly energized and inspired.