|Originating in the mid-1960s among British and American musicians, the sound of psychedelic rock, art rock and progressive rock were based in folk, jazz, and blues, striving to push the boundaries of standard song forms and leading to the development of concept albums. Popular bands of the genre such as Pink Floyd, Genesis, Jethro Tull, Jefferson Airplane, and the Grateful Dead kept their ties to the blues close throughout their heyday. For more than three decades, singer and guitarist Tim Woods’ career as a solo artist and leader of the Woods Family Band has taken him on a long and storied journey that includes forays into folk, blues, rock, and soul.
Following up on the success of his second album, “Human Race,” released in February of 2018, Woods expands on the unmistakable sound and style and deeper message of love, peace, and kindness to Mother Earth. Inspired by his recent visit to the natural wonders of Sedona, Arizona he penned this new collection, “Vortex.” The ten original tracks explore the idea that ‘vortices’ are swirling centers of energy, conducive to healing, meditation and self-exploration located in places where the earth seems especially alive with energy. Woods channels this notion into the melodic structures and lyrical subject matter to create a thought-provoking improvisational jam band rock ‘n’ roll meets psychedelic blues cantata.
Woods begins with an introduction to the concept album by professing his willingness to embrace love on the easy rocking opener ‘Ready,’ preparing the listener for what is to come with rumbling drums and roaring guitars. The title track, ‘Vortex,’ finds Woods as a man gob smacked by the power and beauty of wild places and what he calls “Sacred Ground,” and details how visiting these wonders of the world left him conflicted and bemused, leading him to put those thoughts into musical context of a dramatic rock epic. The mood takes a funky break on the playful 70’s groove rock tune ‘Some Of Your Love’ with Woods doing his best Godfather of Soul moves. We then head back to the country for the introspective midwestern rocker ‘Sometimes,’ followed by the progressive rock inspired instrumental ‘Sage.’ Woods apes a bit akin to Joe Walsh on the happy-go-lucky shuffle ‘I Don’t Know Yet’ and asks for forgiveness with his pleading vocal and soaring guitar on the ballad ‘Take Me Away.’
Paul Hornsby, best known for producing gold and platinum records for artists including the Charlie Daniels Band and The Marshall Tucker Band, lent his skills at the piano for the contemplative soundscape ‘Destination Unknown.’ The rambling roadhouse blues, ‘This Mess,’ encourages us all to get our hands dirty doing the work to make things right in the world and help someone in need. Woods closes his album with the environmental advocacy anthem ‘Water Is Life,’ a sweet acoustic driven progressive pop ballad with hints of The Beatles, standing out as a plea for everyone to do the right thing and preserve the world for our children; once upon a time an idea without controversy and now it feels like rock ‘n’ roll rebellion.
Rick J Bowen
Originally from Western Pennsylvania – where he remains a fixture of the music scene – Tim grew up in a virtual “melting pot” of music. Having older brothers expose him to a wide array of styles, including jazz, blues, bluegrass and rock, Tim’s appreciation for all music took root at an early age. During his formative years, this admiration grew into a deep love of the blues of Willie Dixon, Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters. Tim first began performing as a professional with improvisational rock ‘n’ roll bands – long before the “jam band” genre became as widespread and popular as it is today – playing psychedelic blues and, oftentimes, jamming with local players. When Tim turned 18, his family moved to Macon, Georgia. It was in Macon where his immersion in the legendary music scene had a profound and lasting impact on him. Working at a local nightclub promoting and coordinating appearances of national acts, Tim formed lifelong friendships.
These inspirations have each shaped his playing and songwriting throughout his career, and today are at the heart of Tim’s sound. Tim was greatly influenced by his guitar instructor, Ernie Hawkins, an honored Pittsburgh blues musician and world-renowned master of the complicated picking and style of the Reverend Gary Davis, known as the Piedmont fingerstyle. But it’s Tim’s unique and truly original style – in which he plays and picks using his thumb – that enables him to distinguish himself by playing both lead and rhythm while interchanging chords and licks.
Over the years, Tim has shared the stage with many well-known musicians and opened for music greats like Sonny Landreth and Donna Godcheaux (former member of the Grateful Dead). He frequently performs alongside his great friend George Frayne (a.k.a. Commander Cody) and his band who even played at Tim’s wedding. Tim also recently performed with legendary musician Mick Fleetwood and the House Shakers at Fleetwood’s in Maui. From 2002-2009, Tim was a founding member of The Mountain Jam Band that built a regional following playing blues-based jam band rock in the style of The Allman Brothers, the Grateful Dead and others. Unfortunately, they disbanded due the passing of a key member, although the friendships remain, and they continue to play together.
In June 2005, Tim had the opportunity to meet and spend an intimate musical evening with legendary delta blues artists David “Honey Boy” Edwards, Homesick James, Sam Lay and Pinetop Perkins. He was so inspired by their soul and sound that he devoted himself to recording a musical tribute to these legendary masters of the Delta Blues. Nearly three decades after his original trip, Tim found himself back in Georgia during a session tour throughout the blues basin working on his debut release. “The Blues Sessions,” is the realization of a deep and personal commitment to share with others the art and spirit of these seminal musicians. Tim Woods “The Blues Sessions” was recorded during a six-month studio tour of Clarksdale, Atlanta and Chicago, and features 16 guest musicians, including legendary artists David “Honeyboy ” Edwards, Big Jack Johnson, John Primer, Bob Stroger, Bobby Lee Rodgers and Jeff Sipe.
Tim’s dedication to the blues reaped great personal reward in 2012, when he was inducted into the New York Blues Hall of Fame, culminating with an all-star ceremony at the legendary Kenny’s Castaways in New York City. “Having my work celebrated with such a prestigious award was very important to me and brings great personal honor,” Tim reflects. Finding such inspiration at every corner, Tim released his second album, “Human Race.” With a repertoire of more than 200 songs, Tim performs regionally and nationally in various configurations, including solo shows, trios and his five-piece band, The Tim Woods Band. He also takes great family pride in performing regularly as part of The Woods Family Band with his two sons, Derek, and Ryan. Tim strongly believes in musicians supporting other musicians and cherishes the moments that he shares on stage with other artists and friends.