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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Radiola is the New Release from Bill Wood and The Woodies

Listening to the latest release from Bill Wood and the Woodies is like experiencing a playlist curated by a discerning fan of well-crafted songwriting. Each song—all written by 40-year industry veteran Wood—has a classic, timeless quality. As a whole, the work transcends genre; hence the album’s title, Radiola, which references Wood’s lifelong love of a wide spectrum of musical formats.

Somehow Wood is able to write original tunes that sound both fresh and also somehow familiar. His secret could be attributed to some 40 years of songwriting practice: you may recall Wood from 80s Canadian pop band/Juno nominees EyeEye (Out on a Limb, Endless Night, My Sensation). In the years since, throughout a period of raising a family and working in construction and various social services environments while continuing to write and perform music, Wood has amassed a library of lived experience that inform his songwriting with truth, compassion and honesty.

Like the very best radio station, the tunes on Radiola range from the Beatle-esque “Lucky in Love” to “All Comes Down to the Money,” that borrows from the New Orleans brass procession style. “Tumbleweeds,” “Alice was Dancing” and “Rain Bus” are rootsy and haunting. “Me and You” can stand its ground against any classic ballad.

Take a listen. You don’t even have to turn a dial.

Bill Wood and the Woodies is what happens when the songs are the main event. When 30 years of songwriting, honed over decades of hard life experiences, meets the craftsmanship of career musicians who don’t know what it means to compromise. Listening to the Woodies, you get the sense that they believe in the power of a really good song, regardless of genre.

Those songs come from the soul of Bill Wood, who has lived a lifetime and more since he was a Canadian success story with an 80s’ pop band—perfecting his craft all the while. An industry veteran singer-songwriter and former lead vocalist for Juno-nominees Eye Eye, Wood has perfected his craft over more than three decades.

Disillusioned with the music industry’s “star maker machinery,” Wood stepped away from recording and performing in the early 90s to focus on raising his family and making a living. His experiences as a home renovator, woodworker and as a support worker for the community shelter and housing industry have informed and infiltrated his songs.

Wood has also had his struggles with addiction—those experiences provide crucial insights and empathy to his volunteer work as coordinator of a drop-in and food bank for marginalized youth, and add depth and a gritty reality to many of his tunes.

Throughout all these real-world experiences, he’s been writing songs, performing and recording. Those experiences and a lifetime of songwriting discipline are audible in the depth and power of the Woodies’ original music. Listeners are typically surprised to learn that the Woodies’ tunes are their own—even the newest songs often have the feel of a classic.

Wood is supported by some of Toronto’s most talented and experienced musicians. Mark Shannon is a freelance musician, composer and producer who has worked in Toronto since the 1980s. He also owns and operates mStudio.

Guitarist Chris Bennett is known for his tasteful solos and for the subtle colouring he adds to the Woodies musical pallet. His style has been compared to that of Mike Campbell from Tom Petty’s band. Chris has produced and played on a wide variety of recordings and is also an avid vintage guitar collector.

And drummer Dino Naccarato performs regularly in and around Toronto with a number of musicians including Michael Brennan and George Westerholme.

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