Wood & Wire

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions any more. They tend to go largely unfulfilled after a few weeks (at most), and if I want to make some sort of big life change, I don’t want to trivialize it with a New Year’s resolution. Which doesn’t even make sense as I read it back, but screw it. No resolutions. However…if I was going to resolve anything this year, it would have been to get more involved in the non-indie-rock elements of the Austin music scene this year. We covered a lot of artists in that genre last year, but there’s so much here to get to. One of my favorite non-rock genres that Austin happens to have in great abundance is bluegrass. We’ve gotten to Whiskey Shivers, but I believe that’s been the extent of our bluegrass coverage thus far, so when I stumbled across Wood & Wire, I saw it as an opportunity to make inroads into that scene. Fortunately, they also happen to be really good.

Wood & Wire - 'Pray For Me'

On Monday night, I made my way down to the Cactus Cafe for the first time to see the last night of Wood & Wire’s residency there. I showed up mid-way through the opener’s set and wasn’t even let in the door because the place was jam-packed. Fortunately, the room opened up a bit in between sets, and I took a seat near the stage for Wood & Wire’s set. There were certainly moments that indicated the new-ness of this band – a flat harmony here, a flipped beat there – but those slight instances were overshadowed by the fabulous musicianship and joyous energy the group brought to the stage. If anything, their rawness was endearing and made the excellence on display even more enjoyable. Performing a mixture of bluegrass standards and W&W originals, they brought the crowd to its feet by the end of the performance.

Wood & Wire - 'Whole Damn World'

Wood & Wire isn’t as “hip” as Whiskey Shivers, or the even more obscene Clyde & Clem’s Whiskey Business (who I’m hoping to cover here shortly), but they are a great bluegrass group. Mandolin player Matt Slusher was a member of the South Austin Jug Band, and guitarist Tony Kamel and bassist Dom Fisher have played in multiple bluegrass groups around the area. They combine traditional elements of the genre with some of the newer, more progressive styles, and have great songs to boot. They’re brand new, with nothing but a handful of demos for fans to enjoy, but this is a group to put on your radar for something a little different from the traditional Red River fare. Of course we’ll let you know when the official releases inevitably turn up.

– Carter