Q&A with folk duo ‘The Wood Brothers’

Chris Rutledge

The Wood Brothers are a folk duo formed by Chris Wood, of the band Medeski Martin & Wood, and his brother, Oliver. Their most recent album, “Smoke Ring Halo,” was released in 2011 on Zac Brown’s Southern Ground record label. Oliver sat down with the Herald to discuss their upcoming show March 10 at 3rd and Lindsley in Nashville, and more.

Q: You and Chris have been playing together for a long time. When did you decide to start recording and touring together?

A: About six years ago or so, we just decided it was time. We hadn’t really seriously played together since we were kids. At this point, we were just ready to have fun aside from what we do with our regular bands. To be able to get together and hang out as brothers, but also musicians. It started really casual, just jamming and recording little things, and it just kind of blossomed out of that.

Q: “Smoke Ring Halo” was released on Zac Brown’s Southern Ground record label. How did that relationship come about?

A: I live in Atlanta with Zac, so I got to know Zac through friends that play in his band. I’ve been playing with a couple of his band members for years. So they introduced me to Zac and played some Wood Brothers music for him, and he ended up being a fan of our music. We were getting ready to make a record, and it just kind of worked out that way. But it was cool, because he had his label, and then we were one of the first to be included on it, before it was even a year old. It’s great to be involved with somebody like Zac — following an artist that knows what it’s like to be an artist, as opposed to just some guy in a suit.

Q: Zac Brown Band has taken you on tour a few times since then. Have you seen your fan base increase as a result?

A: I think so, but it’s hard to tell. I think that what we do really translates to a smaller audience than a Bridgestone Arena. It really translates when we play The Loveless Barn or 3rd and Lindsley or something like that. I think we’re stronger in a more intimate setting. And I think our fans tend to be a slightly different demographic, although I’m sure there is a lot of overlap. I’m sure we’ve gained some fans through our association with Zac Brown, but honestly I think we’ve gained most of our fans by just a few years of going back and playing good shows. But it certainly doesn’t hurt.

Q: “Smoke Ring Halo” was released in August 2011, but you had been selling copies at your live shows as early as 2010. So at this point, are you working on material for the next record yet?

A: Yeah, actually, we have a couple of things going on. We have a live EP coming out in May. There’s actually two volumes of live EPs coming out — one in May and one in fall. And in April, we start recording our new studio album. I don’t think we’re going to record it all, but just sort of get started on it. But yes, we have material for a new studio record.

Q: What can fans expect from your upcoming show at 3rd and Lindsley?

A: We’re probably going to play a couple of new tunes. And we really like to reconfigure old tunes into new arrangements, so you’ll probably see a little bit of that. And there might be some special guests from around Nashville. We’re psyched.