Ever-bearded Tennessean troubadour Matt Woods’ second full length studio record, With Love From Brushy Mountain, is slated for a May 13, 2014 release. This comes as a follow up to his first full length, The Matt Woods Manifesto, a trying task in and of itself. Woods is hands down one of the hardest working singer/songwriters I’ve ever come across. He eats multiple month tours across the US for breakfast, trades songs for beer, and is even offering up house shows as part of the album’s pre-sale bundles at www.therealmattwoods.com. He is the poster-child of grass roots marketing via nothing but a golden voice, a guitar, and a bar. I get beyond excited for a new Matt Woods record, as you get not only that near perfect vocal delivery and songwriting, but a full backing band complete with fiddle, pedal steel guitar, piano, banjo, mandolin, and backing vocals throughout. Woods travels tirelessly around the country, racking up over 8 months on the road in 2013 alone. With only the first quarter of 2014 under our belt, Matt Woods has been on the road since February with drummer/comedian/writer Larry Fulford on the drum kit. Together they’ve brought REAL MUSIC to the Northeast and Southeast and are now rambling on into the Midwest and Westcoast. If you’re reading this review in that geographical location, hop on over to the aforementioned website and plan yourself a night of unflappable live music and, “getting drunk as George Jones”, if that’s your thing. It’s definitely mine when Matt Woods is through the speakers!
With Love From Brushy Mountain begins with the autobiographical “Ain’t No Living”, which encompasses all I’ve explained above about his never ending touring and grass roots growth of the Matt Woods brand. Touring and writing songs isn’t a way to make a living as much as it is Matt Woods’ lifeblood. It's as if he was born with a guitar in his hand and wrote a song about it before his Mother left the hospital. Woods then moves into his waltz wizardry with “West Texas Wind”. I was actually waiting for a Bob Wills fiddle solo over the banjo laden song with a beautiful harmonized chorus...as classic as classic country can get. Matt Woods’ story telling prowess shines through brightly on the economically depressed tale of “Snack Bar Mary & The Ten Pin Priest” and their trials and tribulations of growing older and small town sanctity. “Drinking To Forget” is the classic Matt Woods ode to a night that got away from us on the bar stool maybe with a few too many things occupying viable space on the brain muscle. “With Love From Brushy Mountain” is a greasy alt-country anthem from “hell in Tennessee”, where “the birds are singing a song ain’t meant for me”. That’s true Tennessee troubadour poetry that Longfellow can be proud of, or at least should be as long as he had his finger on the pulse of this music scene. “Tiny Anchors” and “Lying On The Floor” both showcase Woods’ ability to write a love song; his are beautifully written, offering a direct view into his own romantic heart. “Real Hard Times” is a rockabilly gospel foot stomper that makes you want to jump up and dance with the first cutie you can grab. The record rounds out with “Lucero Song”, a song about how every girl in the crowd is smitten with the one and only Ben Nichols of Lucero, and it’s going to be a long lonely night for the single gent without a chance for female companionship, at least on that evening. Too much rye whiskey can do that to a man! Leading into the impeccable “Deadman’s Blues” is “Liberty Bell”, a sad ballad about death and burying a significant other--retrospective and thought provoking.
I usually dislike going through a record song for song; however this record made it really tough for me to leave a song out. I’m sure if you’ve heard of Matt Woods, “Deadman’s Blues” has been on your radar since last year and was a hell of a way to lead into a new studio album. That being said, this is a perfect second full length album that I believe will catapult Matt Woods to a whole new capacity of new fans--something that is well-deserved for an incredibly talented singer/songwriter and performer. Make sure you get out and see Matt Woods with Larry Fulford’s drums on this tour, they do not disappoint. Buy these guys a couple rounds too, in appreciation for doing what they do. With Love From Brushy Mountain is a must have album for 2014. Get involved in the pre-sale and, hell, if you can afford it, get the house show package! Make it happen…support REAL MUSIC…RIGHT NOW.
+Words: Scott Zuppardo+