Tipitina's Presents
The Wood Brothers
with The Wood Brothers, Jobi Riccio
+ Jobi Riccio

December 11, 2024
Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm CST
Ages 18 and Up
The Wood Brothers have partnered with American Friends of Canadian Conservation so that $1 per ticket will support The Nature Trust of British Columbia (NTBC) in their efforts to conserve ecologically-rich wetlands and protect irreplaceable land from development. Every $1 donated will be matched by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with $2 so more endangered wetlands can be saved. If you’d like to learn more, please visit: https://conservecanada.org/portfolio-item/the-nature-trust-of-british-columbia/

The Wood Brothers

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, creating a catalog of diverse music and a loyal audience who've grown alongside them through the years. That evolution continues with Heart is the Hero, the band's eighth studio album. Recorded analog to 16-track tape, this latest effort finds its three creators embracing the chemistry of their acclaimed live shows by capturing their performances in real-time direct from the studio floor with nary a computer in sight. An acoustic-driven album that electrifies, Heart is the Hero is stocked with songs that target not only the heart, but the head and hips, too.

"We love records that come from the era of less tracks and more care," explains co-founder Oliver Wood. "When you use a computer during the tracking process, you have an infinite number of tracks at your disposal, which implies that nothing is permanent, and everything can be fixed. Tape gives you limitations that force you to be creative and intentional. You don't look at the music on a screen; you listen to it, and you learn to focus on the feeling of the performance."

Throughout Heart Is The Hero, those performances are matched by the visceral storytelling and songwriting chops that have turned The Wood Brothers into Grammy-nominated leaders of American roots music, even as their music reaches far beyond the genre's borders. The strippeddown swagger of "Pilgrim" underscores Oliver's reminder to slow down and experience each moment as an interactive observer, rather than a passive tourist. A similar theme anchors "Between the Beats," where Oliver draws upon a meditation technique — maintaining one's focus on the space between heartbeats — to reach a new level of presence. The gentle sway of country soul gem "Rollin' On," featuring horns by Matt Glassmeyer and Roy Agee, expounds on the timehonored tradition of love as the guiding light through darkness, while "Mean Man World" finds Chris Wood singing about his responsibilities as a father whose young daughter is poised to inherit an uncertain future. "Line Those Pockets" is a universal call for mercy and understanding over materialism. "Everybody's just trying to be happy, so put your money away; line those pockets with grace," the band sings in three-part harmony during the song's chorus, which emphasizes compassion over cash as the world's true currency. Together, these songs offer a snapshot of a spirited, independent-minded group at the peak of its powers, always pushing forward and seeking to evolve beyond what's come before.

"There's still acoustic guitar, upright bass, and percussion on this album — things people use all the time — but we're always thinking, 'How can we make this sound like us, but not like something we've already done?'" Oliver says. "Sometimes, the only way to do that is to get weird."

That sense of exploration pumps its way through Heart is the Hero like lifeblood. Arriving on the heels of 2019's Live at The Fillmore, 2020's Kingdom In My Mind, and Oliver Wood's solo album Always Smilin' — all of which were released on Honey Jar Records, the band's independent label — Heart is the Hero is bold, bright, and singularly creative, a fully realized collective effort ultimately greater than the sum of its parts. Perhaps that's to be expected from a group whose willingness to experiment has earned acclaim from Rolling Stone and NPR, as well as an annual touring schedule of sold-out music halls and theaters on both sides of the Atlantic. Ask The Wood Brothers, though, and they'll tell you to expect the unexpected.

"We are never satisfied if we are not searching for new musical recipes," says Jano Rix, nodding to the uncharted territory that Heart is the Hero covers. Chris Wood agrees, adding, "We are one of those bands that isn't easily categorized. We know what our strengths are, but we can't help but push the envelope, as well. It's too much fun."

The Wood Brothers are longtime road warriors, but you're innovators in the recording studio, too. How did you challenge yourselves with this new album?

Chris Wood: The recording process itself was the challenge. It was completely different from our last album, where we had all the time in the world to experiment, tinker, and shape performances digitally. It felt like a graphic designer who works on computers transitioning to oil paints and canvas. It felt raw, honest, immediate, and vulnerable.

Chris recently moved to Vancouver. The rest of the band continues to live in Nashville. How did those geographic constraints influence Heart is the Hero?

Oliver Wood: When we make an album, we usually start getting songs together and chipping away at the recording process between tours. We couldn't do that this time because we no longer live in the same town. Sometimes, though, a deadline is one of the most inspiring things in the world. We knew we'd only have a finite amount of time with my brother in Nashville, which inspired us to prepare more than we usually would. Limitations can force you to focus and get stuff done. Recording to 16-track tape is another example of that.

16-track tape is considered to be the ultimate analog sound, but you weren't only attracted to the sound itself; you were compelled by the process, too.

Jano Rix: Limitations spur creativity, but these days, with so much technology available to us, sometimes you have to be intentional and impose limitations. Often, when making a record, we put down the basic tracks and then think, "It could use this or that," so we'll add an extra keyboard, guitar, or percussion. However, when we take that song on the road, over time we inevitably figure out how to make all those parts happen between the three of us, live. It doesn't matter if they are the exact same parts, but the musical gesture must be there. So that was a goal on this record: make every part count.

Give me an example of a song that benefitted from those 16-track limitations and describe how you recorded it.

Oliver Wood: If you record something digitally, you'll probably put a lot more microphones on drums, and then the drums have more of a modern sound. Whereas if you do what we did — use one or two mics on the drum set, and just consider the drums to be one instrument — it sounds different. On the song "Worst Pain of All," Jano played a stripped-down practice drum kit, and we rolled the upright piano beside the drums so his right hand could play piano while he played drums. It was all performed live. There was a mic on the back of the piano, so it didn't pick up the drums too much, then a mic over the drums. Then a mic on my acoustic guitar and a mic on Chris' bass. It's so simple, and sometimes, that's a very refreshing sound.

Heart is the Hero was recorded quickly, but songs like "Between the Beats" talk about slowing down and taking one's time. Tell us about the importance of being in the moment.

Jano Rix: When we're recording a take, the only thing that matters is connection in the moment. Relaxing our concern for a "good" take is all we actually need to do. All you can do is allow it to flow through you. Trust it. Take for granted the years of practice and experience — even be ready to let go of everything you just talked about doing — because when the moment comes, if it feels like it needs to go another way, we all have to be ready to abandon all that and pivot. The conscious brain will sink you in those moments. It wants to control things, so you perform well, to make sure you don't fail… but if you play a "perfect" take with your conscious brain, it won't have that inspiration where every moment feels, and literally is, new.

Jobi Riccio
Born and raised in Morrison, Colorado - a tourist town in the foothills outside of Denver that’s home to Red Rocks Amphitheater - Jobi Riccio grew up surrounded by music and found inspiration in artists ranging from Sheryl Crow to Joni Mitchell. Sonically, Jobi’s music exists between worlds, melding the classic craftsmanship of her songwriting with modern indie-leaning production to forge a lush, expansive sound that feels traditional and experimental all at once.

She has received significant acclaim for her songwriting, including winning the 2019 NewSong Music Competition and the 2019 Lee Villiare Scholarship from her alma mater Berklee College of Music. More recently Jobi was awarded the 2023 Newport Folk Festival John Prine Fellowship, chosen as a 2024 Luck Reunion Artist On The Rise and is nominated for the Americana Music Association's 2024 Americana Honors and Awards in the category of Emerging Artist of the Year.

Her debut album, Whiplash (out now on Yep Roc), has garnered praise from The New York Times, Billboard, NPR, and The Nashville Scene to name a few. “This is the kind of album where you leave knowing an artist better than you ever thought you could in less than 40 minutes, and learn a thing or two about yourself in the process” Says Marissa R. Moss, who named Whiplash her number one Country album of 2023 for Stereogum. Not one to be confined into any one mold, Riccio’s Whiplash introduces influences from a variety of genres, while still holding space for her love for all decades of country and americana music.
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