|Photo by: Provided|
The name says it all--Woody Pines captures the rustic roots of our nation with hints of jazz, rockabilly and country in his sound. Influences ranging from Buddy Holly to The Black Keys to Appalachia and the Northwest have helped shape that sound, which ultimately gives it an all-American feel. His latest EP, You Gotta Roll, features a series of made-over traditional songs that bear remnants of a different time. Between Nelsonville Music Festival and a new record coming out in June, Woody's one busy guy, but if anything, that only fuels his energy.
After touring in the U.K. for several weeks, Nelsonville will be Woody's first stop when he returns to the U.S. ACRN talked to him about his favorite travel spots, True Blood and (of course) the festival.
ACRN: Tell us about your tour in the U.K.
Woody Pines: We've been on the road for four weeks. We flew into London and had a show there, which was great. We had a week in Ireland and I'm still recovering from that ... we had a lot of fun, too much fun. Then we went up to northern England. It's been going great. This is our third year [in the U.K.] but our first year in Ireland. But we're playing some of the places we've been before and people are singing the words. It's really inspiring.
ACRN: How did you get to where you are today?
WP: I started out just playing on the streets, which is called busking. I lived in Ohio for two years and that's how I have such a strong Athens connection. I'd play at the Farmer's Market and I made my first CDs on Garageband. It was really grassroots, I'd just play wherever I could get an audience. I moved to the Northwest and kind of did the same thing. Me and my friends [sic] would just set up and play. One day we did that and made the front page of the paper and the next year this fest had us play on the main stage. Now we have booking agents and interest from music labels. It really kind of jumped to another level, which is exciting. It's a dream come true for me being able to travel and see these cool places.
ACRN: Tell us about the recording process for your new EP. How did you decide to put your own spin on these tracks?
WP: All the songs are traditional and we kind of did that on purpose. We're gonna do a full-length album of all our originals, but I wanted to get these songs that we perform that I love. Like, I was inspired by the "Red Rocking Chair" song. I don't go back and listen to it a lot, like, I haven't heard it in three years. So when we went to record it, I kind of forgot how the real song goes. So it was really natural.
I love all kinds of music, so there's no real rules as far as keeping it traditional. I feel like these songs are our songs. They're folk songs, it's almost our duty to add a new take to them. You can always just listen to the old track and that'd be fine, but I wanted to give something contemporary, some[thing] today.
ACRN: What other things have you been working on lately?
WP: This year we've really been working hard on writing and taking influences from the U.K. and incorporating those into our music. Then there's the new record with all originals which I've never done before, but I'm really excited about that coming out in June. I've been living in Nashville, [Tenn.] the past couple of months. It's been nice hanging out there. I'm trying to get our songs in different movies and shows. We have a song called "Addicted to Blood" that we're gonna try to pitch to True Blood. It kinda fits. We're also interested in making a music video for the new record, which is a whole new medium.
ACRN: How has your sound changed over time?
WP: It's evolving. I first started playing acoustic music while hitchhiking around the country. But now we play dance halls and clubs, and we have an electric guitarist. I'm playing now more in the style of Chuck Berry. I'm really inspired by the acoustic stuff, but now I feel like I can express different emotions and feeling from bigger sounds.
ACRN: What are your influences?
WP: Lately, The Black Keys. I have really strange influences ... there's a rap-rave group called Die Antwoord. I like it because it's fun. We're not doing rap but some of their sounds are interesting. Stuff that kind of influenced our sound is early rockabilly ... Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly. But also country music and some of the guys we covered on the EP. That was kind of a nod to my heroes.
ACRN: Will this be your first time at Nelsonville?
WP: No. The first time we did it was when it was called the Hocking Hills Festival, and it was really the first fest I ever played. We kind of had an in 'cause our bassist at the time was Tim Peacock who runs the thing. It's really fun, especially hanging out backstage.
ACRN: What can the audience expect?
WP: They can expect a really tight band 'cause we've been playing almost every day. A whole bunch of new songs that we've been working on. We're hoping to bring back some of this Irish moonshine that they gave us. A dancing crowd ... hopefully we get everyone up and have a good time. We're looking forward to it 'cause it's gonna be a big welcome home. We might even have Scottish accents.
ACRN: Favorite stop in the U.K.?
WP: We played three nights in this venue in the south of England on the water. [It's a] beautiful, beautiful place. The other good show was Indigo Island. I have a lot of Irish ancestors there and it was a really great response, we sold a ton of CDs. People are so nice and always invite us out afterwards. One place [in Ireland] offered to record an album for free. All we'd have to do is play a show and donate the ticket sales. So I think we'll come back this January and record an album there.
ACRN: What other things will we see from you in the future?
WP: I just wanna keep writing and keep making new music. And keep coming to Athens. We're gonna be doing a lot of festivals this year, and we might get a few more members, which is always fun. Maybe a horn section. It kind of feels like Jack Kerouac soaking up all these stories from everyone, taking them and repainting them and putting out great music. We're starting to get radio play all over the country. Last year was our busiest year. We did 240 dates, which was crazy. I'm gonna find really cool venues to keep giving cool places for fans to come to.
ACRN: Anything else to add?
WP: We're really looking forward to it, being welcomed home by so many friends in the area. Once we do play, we'll probably crash and hang out and watch the awesome bands.
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