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Along with my love of indie-pop and obsession with Deerhunter (and all bands that slightly remind me of them) I’ve had a secret fondness for what is termed ‘Americana’ for many years now. At one time I was far too cool for school to even admit to liking anything that had the slightest connection with country music but it was maybe when I heard Lambchop’s brilliant Is A Woman or Ryan Adams’s bitter relationship breakup album Heartbreaker that I saw the light.
I particularly love dark, gothic Americana such as The Handsome Family. The sort of music that could easily fit on the soundtrack to some existential Western. James Jackson Toth aka. Wooden Wand on his 2010 album, aptly named Death Seat, perfectly fits the bill in this regard. This is a great collection of dark, intimate songs, such as Tiny Confessions, where Toth tells stories about the pain and fragility of life. He has a way of making them feel far from depressing but life affirming as his intimate style makes you feel as if he is singing these songs to you alone.
Toth, under various aliases and monikers is an amazingly prolific artist but I only own Death Seat and last year’s Briarwood. This is a very different album, more in the style of Neil Young or Ryan Adam’s albums he recorded with The Cardinals. More accessible than Death Seat and a more dynamic affair, recorded with a full band, Toth’s Dylanesque lyrics nevertheless shine through. Songs such as Winter In Kentucky tell stories, sometimes tragic and often comic and bizarre.
For fans of Americana and those artists I mention above I urge you to go and see Wooden Wand. I don’t think you will be disappointed.
Based in Brighton I promote shows mostly in the Americana/Alt-country/Folk genre. If you are a band or agent looking for a show then please email me at Drifterpromotions@gmail.com and i will get back to you as soon as possible