Wooden Wand – Briarwood – Deluxe Edition – Double CD
Fire Records are releasing a double disc edition of Wooden Wand's critically acclaimed “Briarwood” album, including 8 stripped down demo versions of the James Jackson Toths penned album tracks.
Here's what James Jackson Toth says about the recordings:
The demos are the grimoire — there is a corresponding demo for every song I have ever released. I've been cursed with a bad memory, so if I do not make a demo of a song, I will forget it. I rarely remember the chords, and I usually require a little help from more musicianly band members to jog my memory.
Demos are likewise invaluable before recording any new Wooden Wand album; I will listen to them constantly so as to exactly replicate – or dramatically change – my phrasing on any given song. I like to remember every nuance of my vocal performance because singing is my most important job. I rarely double vocals, but when I do, I'm the double-vocal king. This may seem somewhat at odds with the raucous, off-the-cuff nature of a good deal of my work (and my reputation), but it is this very idea of a single 'control' within the chaos that allows me to truly improvise.
These demos were recorded at various times leading up to the recording of Briarwood. It is one of very few WW albums to contain almost all 'newer' material, that is, material written for this specific album and not drawn from the archives. The album versions are only faithful to the demos in terms of vocals. Everything else was up for discussion, and as you will hear, many things were changed and improved upon.
These were all recorded solo, at home in Lexington, KY, on a Roland BR1600 digital 8 track.
About the album version of “Briarwood”
Recorded with Duquette Johnston at Ol Elegante Studios in Homewood, Alabama, a new line-up was formed for the latest album from Wooden Wand. Featuring Duquette's band the Gum Creek Killers as well as James Jackson Toth's constant foil and best friend Brian Lowery and Jody Nelson of Through The Sparks, and the Briarwood Virgins were born.
The sessions were casual and loose, yielding some of the most 'rock and roll' sounding music of Toth's long career. For an artist known in some circles as something of a 'folkie,' it's interesting to note that this album contains only a single track of acoustic guitar.
Briarwood represents the latest direction by an artist who continuously confounds, befuddles and challenges his loyal fans, but what do you expect from a guy with a tattoo on his wrist that says “What Would Neil Young Do?”
“That Toth can be so prolific and maintain such quality control remains miraculous.”
– UNCUT 4 STARS
“Beautifully yawning sunbeams of guitar” – MOJO