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Having Fun With It

The Wood Brothers' most recent album is the result of playful jam sessions in their Nashville studio



The last city The Wood Brothers played a live show in before the initial pandemic shutdown was right here in Bend, after having to cancel its originally scheduled gig in Washington state. This led to the Domino Room playing host for the last-minute show. Now almost 600 days later, the Grammy-nominated trio is making its way back to town on October 21, while on fall tour to properly showcase their seventh studio album, "Kingdom In My Mind."

"We were able to do a make-up gig on the same day in Bend, and that happened to be our last show before we all had to fly home and quarantine," recalls Chris Wood. "Everything was developing so quickly. It sort of seemed like a matter of if and not when. We didn't know before the show that it would be our last date, but during the show it got figured out that everything was being canceled. By the time we played the encore, we knew."

The Wood Brothers' seventh studio album, "Kingdom In My Mind" is out now on streaming platforms everywhere. - ALYSSE GAFKJEN
  • Alysse Gafkjen
  • The Wood Brothers' seventh studio album, "Kingdom In My Mind" is out now on streaming platforms everywhere.

However, no one in the group or crew could have known how long things would go on. Fortunately today, The Wood Brothers (brothers Oliver and Chris Wood, along with Jano Rix) are now able to be back on road—and this time they'll be at The Domino Room's sister stage in the Midtown Ballroom, with an album that has plenty to say.

As Chris Wood tells me over the phone, "Kingdom In My Mind" was born from impromptu jam sessions at The Wood Brothers' newly built studio in Nashville. With two different tracking rooms, one large enough for an orchestra, and another smaller one, with softer surfaces that give different sonic variety between spaces. That paired with no stress from the clock or other outdoor parties influencing their decisions is why Chris Wood details the time making this record as one of the best and most inspiring experiences he can remember.

"We were just having a blast coming up with stuff. And it was coming so easily. It was a joy to make. I think it was the most fun we've had making a record," he said.

While the new album stems from a place of random creation, "Kingdom In My Mind" ended up finding its theme and center—which is something Chris says seems to keep happening every record they make. Eventually, the group finds the common thread.

"On 'Kingdom In My Mind' there's a lot of talk about what happens in our heads. These sort of story-generating, dream-generating things we have in our head. And what you do with all that information or misinformation," says Chris Wood. "It definitely touches on mental health issues and how seriously do you take the stories that your mind is generating? Do you take them literally? Or do you realize that's all they are, is stories?"

One of the songs that best encapsulates what the record is about is "Little Bit Broken," a self-aware track that points out we're all cut from the same cloth when it comes down to it, and we all have problems to carry. No one is a perfect person, and hunting for perfection can be dangerous. "Little Bit Broken" is an ode to finding solace and celebration in that acceptance.

"Even being proud of the things that you've survived. When you experience something that really humbles you and challenges you, and you don't know how you're going to get through it, and then you do one way or another, and it's suddenly back there in the rearview mirror... But you've learned something from that and you've overcome something. That song definitely references that idea that these scars that we have, we kind of wear them like medals of gold because that's what taught us maybe our most important lessons."

"Kingdom In My Mind" features funky and bluesy country tales on love, life, the people who affect us and everything our minds get wrapped up in along the way. And after having to spend a lot of time in our heads the past two years during quarantine and other restrictions, it's a solid pairing to help get perspective.

The trio is really excited to properly tour the insightful record after its initial 2020 release—and just get back to their somewhat normal livelihoods.

"I'm sure this is true for most people whose work was affected by the pandemic, but you don't take it for granted anymore. I just really cherish it. That we get to do this, and play together and create music together. And of course playing it in-front of a live audience is so much fun, getting to do that again."

The Wood Brothers
Thu. Oct. 21, 7pm
Midtown Ballroom
51 NW Greenwood Ave., Bend

About The Author

Isaac Biehl

Isaac is living proof that "Iowa Nice" is actually a thing. A journalism graduate from Iowa State University, he regularly writes about music, the outdoors and the arts/culture scene. Isaac loves the Trail Blazers, backpacking and a good IPA. He plans to one day win Survivor. Your move, Jeff Probst...

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