Wood plays acoustic music, best described as folk pop. Catchy, thoughtful original tunes that reflect the natural beauty and diversity of the central coast of California. Rooted in the music that came out of the Laurel Canyon scene of the early 70's, they blend that with the musical genres the band members have pursued over the years. And they are many- Rush, Bill Monroe, Neil Young, America, Led Zeppelin, Cat Stevens, Ramones, David Grisman, Robert Johnson, Grateful Dead, Eagles, CSN, there are hints of all that in their tunes, and somehow- it all works, and works well.
Steve Kindel- vocals, guitar, banjo, mandolin
Paul Steven Silva- vocals, guitar, mandolin, resophonic guitar
Dahlan Richenberg- vocals, slide guitar, mandolin, harmonica
Rob Strom- bass
Barry Johnson- percussion
FROM: San Luis Obispo, CA
CD Review: by Glen Starkey in New Times Magazine
Out of the woodshed and into the spotlight
There’s a massive amount of talent on display on Wood’s exquisite new eponymous CD, which is filled with engaging ’70s-style folk rock songs, stunning vocal harmonies, and unbridled musicianship.
Featuring Steve Kindel (vocals, guitar, banjo, mandolin), Paul Steven Silva (vocals, guitar, mandolin, resophonic guitar), Dahlan Richenberg (vocals, slide guitar, mandolin, harmonica), Rob Strom (bass), and Barry Johnson (percussion, tin whistle), this is a band with decades of experience. Several members used to be in Twinkie Defense, a popular local band 30 years ago.
That group’s vocal harmonies really enrich their sound. Do they sing well together naturally or did this take a bit of work?
“Paul, Steve, and I used to sneak some harmonies in while on break from our regular band rehearsals,” Richenberg recalled. “Somehow we ended up in the same band, and when the bass player quit, Rob joined up. It was always just a supernatural fit. When we started up again 30 years later, Barry was there, and it just seemed like we had always played together.”
“It seems like it used to be a lot more natural,” Silva added. “These days it can be a bit of a challenge. Old ears don’t hear as well as those young ones did. But I think having to pay more attention has actually worked out for the better.”
“I’ve always been moved by great harmonies and it was probably a major draw for us to play together way back when,” Kindel concluded. “It definitely takes a focused effort to find the right harmony, but when we do it’s pretty magical.”
Their new album lists specific songwriters for each track, but how much of their efforts are collaborative?
“Steve and I have written together,” said Silva, “but for the most part we bring a song to the group and everybody does their thing on it. I think it adds depth to a song that you wouldn’t necessarily get if you wrote out all the parts yourself. The challenging thing is letting go of control of the thing and letting the guys do that.”
“It’s fun to collaborate,” Kindel added. “But [it] doesn’t seem to happen very often. I usually bring a fairly completed song to the group—at least in terms of what I would play—but we are very much a band and part of the fun, and the challenge, is that everyone brings their own contribution to fill the song out. No matter who wrote the song, it becomes Wood.”
What have these guys been doing since their band of 30 years ago—Twinkie Defense—was the toast of The World Famous Dark Room?
“Witness Protection,” Silva quipped.
“Life,” Kindel said. “Music was always there on some level. Careers and family took priority. But I still made sure the kids new Neil Young, Dylan, and The Band. It was pretty great when Paul and I hooked up again eight years or so ago that we could still do it and it could be a more evolved version of our younger selves.”
Wood has really recaptured the ’70s folk sound. Are there certain artists they can point to as influences?
“Oh man, so many!” Silva enthused.
“Yeah, well, that’s what we grew up to—late-’60s and early-’70s American music that melded folk, country, and rock music,” Kindel added. “For me it was CSN&Y, The Byrds, Eagles, The Band. But also equally The Who, Led Zeppelin and, yeah, more Neil.”