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It was a midweek show, but fans of the Wood Brothers didn’t let the thought of reporting to work the next day deter them. The theater was mobbed with music fans who showed up for this amazing bill at New Haven, Connecticut’s College Street Music Hall.

Opening the show was the darling of Neptune, NJ, Nicole Atkins. Nicole is a singer with a smooth, soulful, almost hypnotic voice. No, hypnotic doesn’t mean you’ll be falling asleep to her music rather, you will be transported into a world painted by her lyrics.  She started her career in 2002 and has since put out four full length releases. Nicole has overcome a drinking problem and other life issues which gives her songs of tough times a credibility like few can impart to a song. Her latest release, Goodnight Rhonda Lee features songs that open her soul to the world with songs like “A Little Crazy”, “Brokedown Luck”, and “A Night of Serious Drinking”. Nicole treated New Haven to a rare solo appearance which really let her amazing voice shine.

Up next came the headliners, The Wood Brothers who formed in 2004. They have four live and seven studio releases with their latest, One Drop Of Truth having been released in February of 2018. They play a blend of traditional folk music with a bit of a funk/bluesy sound. Brothers Oliver (guitar) and Chris (stand-up & electric bass) left their home state of Colorado and went their separate ways as youths with Chris playing contemporary jazz and Oliver playing R&B music infused with funk and country. They got together as a low key folk duo then added Jano Rix into the group on percussion and a variety of other instruments, and The Wood Brothers we know today was formed.

The Wood Brothers started their set off with a soulful version of the Los Lobos classic, “I Got Loaded”. This song set the stage for the show in the fact that it got people dancing and singing along which continued throughout the night. Their set rolled along with rolling bluesy songs followed by more rocking up beat jamming songs only to head back to bluesy numbers and back to rocking. The Wood Brothers are masters of working their audience, knowing what they want and when they need it.

Midway through the set, they brought out an old time microphone, one which you would find in a museum, and the raucous audience came to a hush at the request of the band. The hall was treated to a soulful version of “The Muse” which they followed up by calling Nicole Atkins out to join them on a beautiful version of “Angel Band”.  Another highlight of the show was when they trotted out a song first recorded by bluesman Jimmy Reed, “Big Boss Man”. Imagine a version of this classic influenced by Reed, Elvis Presley and the Grateful Dead and you have The Woods Brothers version. It was perhaps the best received song of the night and the band responded with an increased energy.

The Wood Brothers have a unique style of folk/Americana music that audiences love. If you are more of a fan of rocking rollicking music, don’t let the term folk fool you. You will be pleasantly surprised by their energy and you will be swept up in the wave of energy that their fans convey.

Set List

11/7/2018 College Street Music Hall – New Haven, CT

  1. I Got Loaded
  2. Never and Always
  3. Sparkling Wine
  4. One Drop of Truth
  5. Keep Me Around
  6. River Takes The Town
  7. Sky High
  8. Who the Devil
  9. Can’t Look Away
  10. Chocolate on My Tongue
  11. ?
  12. The Muse
  13. Angel Band
  14. Wastin’ My Mind
  15. Where My Baby Might Be
  16. You Wreck Me
  17. Luckiest Man
  18. Bossman
  19. Snake Eyes

Encore

  1. Trouble in Mind
  2. Honey Jar

Photos and review by Rich Russo