“Woody Pines brings that low-key street corner style of performance to his stage show, but with all the polish and seasoned professionalism of a tour-bus-and-green-room rock stardom.”~Ali Marshall, Mtn Xpress
Now on his fourth album, Woody Pines is no stranger to fans of the new folk music coming from all corners of the USA. Alongside artists like Old Crow Medicine Show and Pokey LaFarge, Woody continues to dust off the old 45s and make the music new again. Integrating sounds from Leadbelly to Bob Dylan, from Woodie Guthrie to Preservation Hall, Woody Pines belts out songs of fast cars, pretty women and hard luck
with a distinctive vintage twang.
Woody’s journey has taken him from street corners and smoky bars to folk festivals and
the Grand Ole Opry, but he started with Bob Dylan. As a child, unable to read music,
he made up new tunes for the Bob Dylan songbooks around his house. He immersed
himself in music, and later hitchhiked with a friend to visit his heroes such as Pete
Seeger, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot and Utah Philips. By the age of nineteen, he claims to have
played in forty-nine states.
Woody began the famed Eugene, Oregon, jug band the Kitchen Syncopators while at the
Oregon Country Fair, busking for tips with Gill Landry. The Kitchen Syncopators began
touring up and down the west coast, which is where they met famed Seattle street corner
musician Baby Gramps. Baby Gramps recommended they try New Orleans, and gave
them the name of an old flame who lived there. The Syncopators stayed for three years.
They worked street corners tirelessly, putting in hours busking, treating music like a full-
time job, but it paid off: three albums later, the Kitchen Syncopators had made a lasting
name for themselves.
When the Syncopators broke up, Gill Landry joined up with Old Crow Medicine Show,
where he is to this day. Woody went to Asheville, North Carolina, to learn fiddle music.
Once again he hit the street corners with an open guitar case, but in not to long he was
putting out solo albums. Rags to Riches and Lonesome Shack Blues were followed by
Counting Alligators, for which Syncopator bandmates Gill Landry and Felix Hatfield
collaborated. Backing musicians joined the band, and by the time Woody recorded the
five-track teaser CD You Gotta Roll, he was playing over 240 dates a year, as far afield as
the United Kingdom.
If you Google “Rabbit’s Motel”, you will find a snapshot posted by Woody Pines with the caption ““Rabbits Motel Used to be the best soul food in Asheville.” Woody took the name for his fourth and latest album. In contrast to You Gotta Roll, Rabbits Motel brings in a bit more of a country feel, with some electric instruments you wouldn’t see in a jug band. Some tracks bring in a full studio sound that leaves the street corner behind, but opens up rich new possibilities. Still thoroughly grounded in the blues and rags of before, this album adopts a touching lyricism and an independent streak that brings to mind Iron and Wine, among others.
We can only imagine what will be next for Woody Pines after this album, but without a doubt there will be more touring, more old songs made new, and more new songs that sound straight out of your granddad’s 45s. Woody has established himself at the forefront of a generation of musicians who are reminding us what great music is, all over again.