The Happiness Quotient

#84 - Oliver Wood Always Smilin' - New Solo Album Release and Music Extravaganza

June 08, 2021 Thom Pollard Episode 84
The Happiness Quotient
#84 - Oliver Wood Always Smilin' - New Solo Album Release and Music Extravaganza
Show Notes Transcript

This episode has a transcript for hearing impaired.

COVID19 wasn’t all bad. A ton of musicians and recording artists invested themselves in projects that they wouldn’t normally have been able to do if they were on tour. On Tour is where the Wood Bros find themselves for much of the year, at least pre-covid.

Back in September of 2020 I talked with Oliver where he was at his home in Nashville, The Wood Brothers tour had been effectively shut down and, I learned later, that in addition to trying out some new songs and jamming with friends, he was making standard breakfast and "dad spaggetti"  for the wife and kids.

The things you remember to ask someone after the call is done...


In this episode I play selections from the album and intersperse them throughout the conversation.

Here’s my June 8, 2021 conversation with Oliver Wood from Charleston S C where he is on a tour stop with the Wood Bros….to talk about his newly released album ALWAYS SMILIN’

Songs from Always Smilin' in this episode:

Climbing High Mountains (Trying To Get Home)
Face of Reason
Get The Blues
Kindness
Molasses
Fine Line

For more information on The Wood Brothers visit:
https://www.thewoodbros.com/

For tour dates and album info, plus a kick ass bio on Oliver, visit:
https://www.oliverwoodmusic.com/


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For more information about Thom Dharma Pollard:
http://eyesopenproductions.com/

For a free downloadable copy of A Course In Happiness:
www.patreon.com/thehappinessquotient

Our theme song, Happiness Jones, appears courtesy of The Wood Brothers.

For more information about The Wood Brothers:
https://www.thewoodbros.com/

The Wood Brothers on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTvWKQovDZlLceuct1EEMMQ

Happiness Jones video can be seen here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKIoiVWwF5A





Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehappinessquotient)

Thom Pollard:

This is the happiness quotient. If you like what you're hearing and enjoy this episode or any episode of the HQ, would you please be sure to subscribe to me wherever you may be listening. Because when you subscribe, you'll be notified next time I release another stellar episode with a stellar guest. People who inspire that's what the happiness quotient is all about inspiring others to go after their dreams and never be unhappy. That's all we have for you today, a guest who has truly followed his dreams. His name is Oliver wood. He's a musician, a singer songwriter, guitarist, from the wood brothers, and he is here today to talk about his new solo effort called always smiling. See, COVID wasn't all bad, a ton of musicians and recording artists invested themselves in projects that they almost definitely would not have been able to do. If they were on tour where the wood brothers find themselves for much of the year at least pre COVID. They're a little bit back at it now and I've talked to all of her from a tour stop in Charleston, South Carolina. I first talked to all of her last September where he was at his home in Nashville, the wood brothers tour had been effectively shut down to zero. I learned later that in addition to trying out some new songs and jamming with friends all over spend some time making standard breakfast for the family and dad spaghetti for the wife and kids. Dad spaghetti.

The Wood Brothers:

I've been bearing the names of many tryin' to get home....

Thom Pollard:

Today, I'm going to play selections from the new album always smiling, which we're listening to now. And we've tracks of the album throughout our chat that I had with all of her today. Here's my June 8 2021 conversation with all of her wood, who is in Charleston, South Carolina, on a tour stop with the wood brothers to talk about his newly released album. always smiling. Alright, so first things first, we're so psyched to talk to you about your new album. But how's how's the family? How are your kids? Everything good on the home front?

Oliver Wood:

Yeah, everything's pretty good. Just everybody's getting used to doing things that they haven't been able to do in a while and sort of dipping our toes into that a little by little and yeah, just like everybody else. But But uh, yeah, everyone's good thing.

Thom Pollard:

That's awesome. So the this tour is pretty cool. Because you're, you're on the road, but it's not like one of those monster things where you you're just going and going. It it's kind of like bite sized chunks a little bit. Right.

Oliver Wood:

That's a good way to put it. Yeah, we're dipping our toes in that way too. We're playing with brother tour right now, which is only about, you know, a week and a half long, which is pretty manageable and everything is outside and you know, no crazy indoor crowds yet. Although that's what's supposed to happen in the fall. But um, yeah, it feels good. It feels good to be out in the world.

Thom Pollard:

Yeah, I saw some you guys did that. live performance video. This is going back a couple of months ago and you were outside? I guess it was somebody's birthday party. But they didn't you didn't really see much of that. But you did. You did seven or eight cuts the blood brothers that is and it was interspersed by little vignettes, videos. And that was so good. And it really got me feeling like okay, you know that live music is is is making its way back and you cannot kill the spirit. Yeah, everybody needs it, the players and the listeners and we all need that stuff. It's healthy. No doubt. All of her tell me about your new album and what what people can expect if they haven't sampled it yet. I'm blessed to have heard it several many times through. I love it. And so tell me a little bit about it and how that came to be.

Oliver Wood:

Well, um, you know, my full time gig is the wood brothers and my other full time gig is of having a family at home. And so I am generally I generally just do not have enough time and energy to do anything besides those two things and I did start before the pandemic hit, I did start to make efforts to collaborate with some folks outside of the word brothers, purely for the joy of it and for the connection. So just past and present musical friends, people that would come through town, I'd say, hey, let's write a song together, or let's go record something and just mess around, just for the joy of it. And, you know, we have such a good thing with the wood brothers. And it's all consuming. So it was really hard. But once in a while, I would just find time to do these little projects. And then of course, when and I had no intention of making an album or not, not necessarily even releasing a song or anything, I was just writing to write, and recording to record and just having fun with it. But yeah, then once the pandemic hit, and we were locked down for a year, I came back to that stuff. And I found myself with a lot of time, we're usually touring so much that suddenly I have all this time, like everyone else, I have some time on my hands and I I just thought well, I'm I have these things that I started working on, I kept working on I finished them up. And I kept going. And I just kept writing things and working in the studio. And we're we're brothers brothers are blessed to have our own studio space. So I had a place to work that was near my house. And you know, thanks to the way life is these days, you can do things remotely and but I also was able to have small groups of people in the studio with with masks and distance and separation. And, and just basically decided midway through that pandemic, then I might as well just make an album because I might never have time to do that again. So, so it just happened. It wasn't super intentional. From the beginning, it just became a little project to a little goal and something I had never done before I myself.

Thom Pollard:

It's awesome. I love it. And when when I first interviewed you I think it was September of last, which seems like it feels like it was recent. But it's that's a long time ago, a long time. Jesus, I just kept thinking we're right at the edge of like merging, and now it's June 2021. And we played the battle is over and soul of this town, those were kind of your early releases when I think it'd be I don't even know if you had known the album was going to happen yet. Yours was,

Oliver Wood:

that was what I just had finished some of those early projects. And I was like, oh, what they might as well put these out as singles. Because otherwise you're just gonna sit there and might as well just get them out in the world. So that happened. And that went really well. That was really fun. And I was like, well, I just want to keep doing that. And then before I knew it, I had enough songs for an album so it just made more sense to do that.

Thom Pollard:

I didn't actually mean to kind of separate little tracks there but the but face of reason is that I that I hear that and that man that thing. I saw this, they all have sold but like face of reason, man just like go through Jim. There's a lot of them in there. But But what is I had read somewhere that your wife had given you a slide. And it was a wooden one as opposed to like glass or metal? Did I get that story? Right? Is that the song that you wrote with that?

Oliver Wood:

No, actually, that song is called unbearable heart. Use me. Yeah. But I did play a lot of slide on the album. And you know face of reason is a song that was so first of all, I want to say that you know, calling this a solo album is purely by name you know, it really was a series of collaborations outside of the wood brothers is what it was so all Music To me that's what makes music fun and special is they share so so face of reason was a song was kind of a me reuniting with one of my all time mentors, Chris long. And Chris long. And I started a band, which was well before we brothers called King Johnson when I when I lived in Atlanta. And so he was sort of a big brother, musically speaking and on tour and he encouraged me he was a he is a great singer and songwriter. And he sort of encouraged me to start doing that stuff too. And when we started our band together so he was a big supporter and someone else looked up to as a writer too. And so he and I since since King Johnson ended Long, long ago We still have gotten together occasionally to write songs and so he's another guy who lives in Indiana it comes through Nashville sometimes and we just sit and do we come up with and and face of reason was that was his seed right there he had He's like, what do you think about this book? You know, base of reason this Yeah, he's got a million of them. Yeah, so he came over and we just sort of ran with it. Okay, another cool one.

The Wood Brothers:

We gladly take your lumps each day they're handed out standing in have no doubt surprise when you hit the ground breathe it flies in the face the reason cuz it'll just cost you yesterday for stealing back the thunder you wake up where to see a green before your eye? Maybe three Do you realize the grass on the other side?

Thom Pollard:

Yeah, back. I mean, I continue to but sometime back when I first got into wood brothers, I did a lot of mining for King Johnson videos on YouTube. And there's some classics out there like, you know, just really great wide shots of of the band playing. And it's, you know, knowing your music much more than the guys in the band. It's pretty cool to see it's almost like this natural progression not really because they're very they're different bands, wood brothers,

Oliver Wood:

and definitely King Johnson was where I, I think those were the most formative times for me as a as a player and as a writer, just that group of people really influenced me a lot you know, so you know, your mentors are often just the people that you're that you work with, and are influenced by every day and that group of people really gave me my musical foundation.

Thom Pollard:

You know, it's funny that just reminded me of a really cool interview I heard with with Paul OSHA and obviously he's not alive anymore, but you know, just an amazing blues man and great harmonica player played with Muddy Waters as you probably well now and really good guitar player and somebody in like the interviewer said, like, how'd you get so good? Like how did you get so damn good at your your music and he just said when you love something so much, you just it all you can do is just play, play, play play. And after a while it just it it's part. It's this is natural as well. I don't know about as natural as breathing but it's like walking. And I really loved that because when I saw I saw a polo shirt Like 10 years ago, or 12 years ago, 15 maybe even. And I was like I was knocked on my off my socks were like, blown off. I couldn't believe that this guy just oozed it. And that and that you've, I'm telling you, like, I know you said, this is a collaboration and it's so obvious on this album, always smiling. It really is like, it's you. But you know, you got the cut with Susan to dashi who a lot of people know who that is. And having been a guy who's always would read the backs of albums, and find out who plays this. Who plays that you've got, is it how do I pronounce Ted's last name? Is it Pecchio? Ted Pecchio on bass? Yeah, he played bass on he's another guy. I go way back with from the Atlanta days. So did Seth Walker poach him from you? Or did it go the other way around?

Oliver Wood:

I think, Ted, it gets around. Let's put it that way.

Thom Pollard:

Yeah. Yeah. No doubt.

Oliver Wood:

Yeah. He's, he's always playing with somebody. So. Um, yeah. Yeah. But you know, as far as to the what you said about, you know, people just loving something when you love something for a long time. I think, you know, not only do you get proficient in a sort of a technical way, but I think you also your personality starts to get into the craft, you know what I mean? Cuz it's one thing to be technical, technically proficient. But then what is it that that's, to me, that's not what sets you apart from? You know, its uniqueness. That's what what any kind of art is. It's not really a contest of chops. It's more like who can I think felonious monk said, Who could be the most the, you know, the best artist is the one who's the most like themselves, or who, you know, whose self comes out the most in their music and think of all our musical heroes, like there's only one Muddy Waters or leave on him or Ray Charles or, you know, it's just there. It's just them, you know what I mean? And yes, they're very proficient. But they're so unique. And that's why it's amazing to me, like, I feel like I'm still working on that and it's getting better for me and I'm in my 50s now, but it amazes me when you think back about somebody, buddy like a Hendrix or Duane Allman or people who are already seem fully formed in their 20s Yeah, dadly we lost a lot of them, right. They just they just were on a different timetable. But for instance, somebody like their trucks, and Susan Tedeschi who I've both known them since they were teenagers and I was just a couple years older. They've been doing it for for a long time as long as I have and they just keep getting better and better and more themselves like you know so it's it's a beautiful thing you know, that's all yeah. I mean, john prine at the end of his life was just such a one of a kind or you know, and even more so than ever.

The Wood Brothers:

Want to save us the whay ya gotta plague us. We're gonna last much longer because you made us stronger. Now you're gonna get the blue. can't ya hear us great provided to me to come back. You're gonna get the blues. When you gotta heal, you got to send us love. Get the blues.

Thom Pollard:

Think. And this this crosses outside of music in anything I think individuality. It's, it's that expression you know we grow up idolizing someone I know you. And when we talked before you brought up Ray Charles named before I'm sure you probably have sung thinking that if I could just belt it out like Ray Charles man, I'm frickin there and you have your own distinct voice, there's no question but that that's it, it's about people feeling comfortable enough. And, and not worrying about necessarily the outcome of of it, it's more that process. It's like, Look, if people don't dig what it is I'm doing, that's cool. I don't need to be, you know, Ray Charles, or the Beatles or something like that. So that shines through in my in the music that I listened to, or the art that I look at. And that comes through in your

Oliver Wood:

Yeah, I think we thank you. I think we all start off sort of as emulators where we, we admire and try to learn and copy. Because that's how you learn. And I think what also happens is we we we all have limitations, like there's no way I'm gonna sing like Ray Charles but but sometimes those limitations lead you down a path to find what your own whatever your own voice may be. And that's and that's cool. And I really liked what you said about you know, not thinking and certainly not worrying about somebody likes what you're doing or not and and, you know, all of us have insecurities about that. But I think at our best moments, we are not thinking about that at all, you know, when whether we're performing live or whether you're climbing a mountain, it doesn't matter you're not you're in that moment and the only thing that matters is doing it right and and I've had a lot of good discussions lately about a lot of interest lately in just a little bit about how the brain works. When you're either performing or doing anything when you're just living but especially when you're creating something there's this part of your brain that's that's very playful and childlike. And that's what you want. You don't want to win when you're worried about someone else. liking what you're doing. You're basically judging yourself and that's not you're not present at that point. You know,

Thom Pollard:

right on right on that's that's a slam dunk are right here. Hey, so I don't want to keep you too long. I know you got to show tonight. What I've always kind of wanted to ask you about tone your inferred for the guitar players out there. You have a tone and part of it is the guitar you play and I know you play an acoustic guitar and then you've got the the guild's t 100 that your electric hollow body guitar. There's a real distinct sound. I'm not sure if it's because of the amplifier. You play it through the way you set it up, but it's when I hear it. It's I know, I know. It's you. That's so did like how did was that a king Johnson thing because You're you weren't necessarily playing that guitar with them. But did you? was a trial and error. Was there a grittiness that you wanted? How'd you get to me because it's peeling the paint?

Oliver Wood:

Well, I, as far as the electric guitar tone, I think, you know, you hear people say, well, it's in your fingers for for the most part. However, I have made a lot of conscious choices to, to find something that I liked and that I felt was a little bit my own. And, and, you know, back in the 90s, when I was playing with King Johnson, and everybody, including myself was playing Fender stratocasters, which is one of the greatest guitars ever made. And, but I kind of felt like I was lost in the crowd, you know, and so that's when I found this guild hollow body electric, it's a thin, for those who don't know, it's a, it's a thin body, kind of almost like a poor man's Gibson, but it's a hollow body electric guitar with sort of cheap pickups in it, but it's a well made guitar, from the 60s, and it just had its own thing where you could sort of hear it would feed back a little bit, and you could hear the wood from the guitar just because of the hollowness and because of the pickups are somewhat microphonic. And I had to stuff it with stuff, so wouldn't be back too much. But anyway, I just found I think what most of us need is, is we just need something that's inspiring. You know, when you hear something that's inspiring, then you get in that zone we're talking about where you're just right in the moment. And that's when you play or write or improvise the coolest stuff. You know, if you're inspired by that, that tone. So that guitar through a Fender amp was what I do with your fender super amp was what I played for years with King Johnson. And then when I started playing my brother with my brother, we were doing sort of something more broken down and my brother had these really cool little amps that were little k real cheap cheapo little thing, but made a plywood but you know, by 16 standards, it's pretty darn cool. Yeah. And something about that amp has a real little pawn shop, it sounds like a crappy little martial or something. So that is sort of over the years become a little bit part of the character of the sound to is to kind of blend that in with a larger Fender amp. And then the rest of it, I think for all of us guitar players, the more we do it, we you know, I like to think I could pick up someone else's guitar and I'd still sound kind of like me just because of the way I when I feel like that without all my guitar heroes, you know, I can tell it to them no matter what the plan. So, so I think, you know, we just have these habits and these moves and this vocabulary and this recipe of licks and ideas that sort of our that's my vocabulary for better or worse, and that's, that's the way it's

The Wood Brothers:

a man and he's always smiling. Man, and he's always smiling. He could be flying, man and he's always smiling. You must lean into it. Is that smile? Maria? Is that just how you feel? No, I find this way that you live in. He said. Yes. religion. Religion is always. Bernie never talks down. And he doesn't talk. He never talks down and he doesn't talk. He's no weapons. his weapon is never talks down. He doesn't talk. Do you lean into it? Is that talking for real? Is that just how you feel? When it blows my mind this Hello that you give him? He said religion no man and he's always smile. I know a man and he's always smiling. He said what? I'm sorry, I was wishing for a better condition. It was pure intuition. Why don't an easy decision to cure for division? Who could deny this loving position? Come on?

Thom Pollard:

Yeah, so um, so tonight you're in Charleston. You have you have a performance tonight. And brothers. Yeah. Yeah. And then after your your little the short wood brothers tour. I think I'm going to see you in New Hampshire in early July. I'm excited for that. Yeah. Yeah. Cool. Yeah, super stoked to come and see ya. Ah, so we'll have to link up for that. Absolutely. And Tom, so who's on your solo tour? Do you have Ted with you who's your Who's your

Oliver Wood:

Ted Peccihio on he bass and Jano Rix from the W od Brothers also, who's pl ying drums and keyboards and bo h of those guys are great si gers as well. So amazing. Do so e harmonize amazing just to be able to play some of the new so gs from the from the new al um and more music more fun, mo e getting out in the world.

Thom Pollard:

It's seeing people there is a human race out there and they've been waiting. This is it's we're we're all excited just to kind of stretch our our toes into the into the soil. It's really good to be getting out there. So thank you for your time. Have a great show tonight. Thank

Oliver Wood:

you. Always a pleasure, man. I look forward to seeing you in New Hampshire.

Thom Pollard:

longtime fans of the wood brothers need not worry, Oliver is fully committed to the wood brothers. They will be back with more soon. If you want to catch one of the wood brothers shows they are going to be on tour for the next week or so. And then again, beginning in August into September, visit the wood bros.com and Oliver will also be touring to promote his solo album always smiling, which we talked about in the interview today. He's coming to the New 'Shire in July I'm pretty stoke to see him. tour dates and musi links and a bio about Oliver ca be found at all over woo music.com. in the show notes I'll have a detailed list of al the tunes played in today' episode. And as always, I nee to thank the wood brothers i the management for the use o their song happiness Jones fo our new theme song here on th HQ, and to their publicist Kevi Calabro for helping make it al happen. And thank you all fo Woody and Kevin Calabro o Calabro music media for the us of always smiling a young love

The Wood Brothers:

made it to heaven before his last breath

Thom Pollard:

For more information about me Tom Dharma Pollard, to inquire about personal coaching public speaking in person or virtually, please visit me at eyes open productions.com write me anytime at Thom dot Dharma collard at gmail. And if you want to do anything or anyone a favor, go to the websites of the woods brothers and Oliver would buy some music there. That's the greatest gift you can give in return for their time on this podcast episode. I'm going to leave you with another stellar track of all of his album always smiling. Oliver See you in July Safe travels Thank you for visiting the happiness quotient I will see you all real soon.

The Wood Brothers:

Somebody tell me what's the reason nobody is satisfied. Jump around from one to 11 down to no against cold outside it's a fine line true. James and I saw please No way. Somebody tell me what three easy, everybody don't play by the rules. I can tell you one thing from season. One thing that I know is true. But at the fine line. That dress dreams and band aid in no way. Somebody tell me what to re up their dream. I guess they just stopped believing that it's easier than it seems and it's changing genes and