Oliver Wood says you need to see his brother play the bass. “My brother is a world-class upright bass player,” he boasts. Wood, alongside his brother Chris Wood and drummer Jano Rixx, is one-third of hard-touring roots-Americana act, The Wood Brothers, who return to Eugene in support of 2013’s critically acclaimed record The Muse.
Oliver Wood says experiencing his brother stretch-out his bass-playing skills is a unique pleasure of seeing The Wood Brothers live. Unlike Wood Brothers records, which Wood says are more song-focused, the trio pushes the envelope live, blending Chris Wood’s jazz background with Oliver Wood’s rootsy guitar playing and country western-inspired vocal harmonies.
Drummer Jano Rixx is also known for developing the “shuitar” (“a shitty guitar,” Oliver jokes, “get it?”). The shuitar is a beat-up old acoustic six-string that Rixx modified to play percussion, replicating the sound of a small drum kit. Wood says the shuitar is perfect for intimate performances.
Musical brothers have a long history of bickering and squabbling — the Davies brothers of The Kinks and the Gallagher brothers of Oasis come to mind. Oliver Wood says he has a much more copacetic working relationship with his sibling, due to the fact that the duo established their own musical identities before working together — Chris Wood with Medeski Martin & Wood, and Oliver Wood as a touring guitarist with Tinsley Ellis.
The Wood Brothers perform with North Carolina’s Mandolin Orange 8 pm Wednesday, Jan. 21, at McDonald Theatre; $18 adv., $22 door. All ages.