HollyWood Red
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HollyWood Red

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"Star Quality"

Hollywood Red puts his mojo where his mouth is
by Steve Shanafelt

"I'm not trying to start a new identity or anything," protests Woody Wood on the other end of the line, his voice shifting from a relaxed conversational clip to an excited twang like an old transmission struggling between gears.

Even though Wood and I live in the same city, we've been having an awful time reaching one another, with the end result being a static-ridden phone conversation – and now one slightly agitated musician.

"It's just that this new album is a really different project from anything that I've ever done," Wood continues. "In that sense, I do want it to have its own identity."

For most locals who know anything at all about him, it's this: Aaron "Woody" Wood was one-fifth of the sincerely loved but only moderately successful Blue Rags, that Asheville band that found some national notoriety during their time on the indie-cred-bearing Sub Pop label.

Wood was the spastic Rag – the really spastic one. The wired oddball with the penchant for goofily surreal stage banter and outrageous clothing (outrageous for the throwback-music scene, at least).

Yet he has more of a pedigree than all that, being the son of noted bluegrass and old-time banjo player A.L. Wood. And in the 11 years the younger Wood has been playing professionally, he's earned a reputation as an outstanding guitarist and collaborator.

A few years back, he made the enigmatic decision to strike out under the glitzier name of Hollywood Red, but with a less stylized sound. Wood's new, self-released, self-titled album is a grab-bag mix of original songs – folk, bluegrass, rock, R&B, even a little power metal.

And it's also none of these things. More precisely, it's the music that bangs around inside Woody Wood all the time.

"The main thing people say when they hear these new songs – and I've heard this from several people – is that it's like something they've heard all their lives, but they can't remember where," reveals the singer. "All this music is an extension of my childhood. Every song represents some kind of music that I was exposed to as a kid.

"The love affair with it never went away."

Yet the new album marks some startling changes in direction for Wood. For example, the soul-inspired "Hold Your Tongue," a song that first appeared on Collapseable Studios' sampler CD, released earlier this year.

"I've always loved R&B and soul music," Wood reveals. "It's very near and dear to my heart. Mom had a rock background, so I'd also be listening to Percy Sledge, Chuck Berry and Little Richard. There's just something about it, and I can't get away from R&B music. I feel like I'm lucky to be able to halfway carry those kinds of songs."

Thanks to guest appearances by some of Wood's high-profile friends, Hollywood Red may be one of the best showcases of local talent to come along this year. West Asheville sirens Ménage provide some of the album's backing vocals, as does old-time singer Cary Fridley, Wood's collaborator in the vintage-blues group The 24-7s (along with fellow former Blue Rag Scott Sharpe). County Farm bassist Paul Leech makes an appearance on the acoustic track "Coal Black Hair," Acoustic Syndicate's Jay Saunders shows up for "Hold Your Tongue" and DrugMoney's Tyler Ramsey lends keyboard work and guitar throughout.

Interestingly, though, the most successful collaborative songs emerge courtesy of bassist Bill Reynolds and drummer Mike Rhodes – two more ex-members of The Blue Rags.

"It's like playing with someone who can read your mind," Wood said about working with the pair again. "I can come to them with an idea, and they know exactly where I'm going. I haven't gotten to work with them on anything like this since we were in The Blue Rags together, and it was nice to have that energy on the CD."

It's a type of energy tailored to create a mood, perhaps, more than a masterpiece. While Wood's vocal ability is notably more constrained than his guitar work, you can't discredit his passion.

"As long as a song is heartfelt, and the person that is playing it loves the hell out of it," he muses, "I'd go for that over originality any day."

- July 2004 Mountain Xpress, Asheville NC


"HollyWood-Red"

By Laura Blackley

In a perfect world, local music-man Aaron “Woody” Wood would be a legend. The skinny white boy from the mountains of Western North Carolina carries around more soul in his restless bones than most of us ever dream of. The son (and sometimes bandmate) of bluegrass and old-time legend A.L. Wood, as well as former member of the much adored early blues/ragtime outfit the Blue Rags, put together his own band, Hollywood Red, a couple of years back–a raw, rough-and-ready tribute to Wood and his roots.

“The new stuff I’ve been writing is a little bit more harder-edged,” Wood says. “More straight-up rock and roll–it’s just fun, aggressive...” he continues. “I don’t mean aggressive like spikes and chains–just a little louder, and more raw.”

Wood is noticeably excited about his music’s evolution. The colorful and enigmatic singer/songwriter/guitarist has always surrounded himself with talented musicians, and this incarnation of Hollywood Red is no exception.

“Aaron Price plays bass and adds some background vocals,” Wood says. “Plus (Price) plays some keys and guitar as well–he’s just a musician extra-ordinaire. (I’ve also) got a guy named John Spurrier playing drums now.”

Wood enlisted the engineering skills of Price and Bill Reynolds over at Collapseable Studios last year, and churned out his first full-length recording as Hollywood Red, a self-titled album featuring eleven original songs penned by Wood himself. The record itself combines the sincerity of a mountain ballad with the potency of mountain moonshine–plus features a handful of Asheville’s finest musicians accompanying Wood.

“I think the most important thing is that you have to be completely honest in your music,” Wood says. “You can tell a story and you can change the names or change the places–but when it comes to the emotion, you gotta be honest with yourself first, or nobody’s gonna dig it.”

Whether it’s been for his honesty, his searing guitar licks, or his reckless stage persona, Wood has won himself some fans.

“The perfect show for me would be if I could let the people in the audience know what it feels like to be standing up there in front of them,” Wood confides. “To have it be the other way around and to have (the audience) feel that same electricity that I feel when (me) and the crowd are in sync with one another. It’s as intense and impossible, I guess, as a man trying to know what it feels like to be a woman, or a woman trying to know what it feels like to be a man.”

Maybe the perfect world can have it’s legends. At least Asheville’s got Woody Wood.
- 2005 Mountain Xpress, Asheville NC


Discography

2004 - Hollywood Red LP (self-titled) available at http://cdbaby.com/cd/hollywoodred and Asheville stores.

Recorded & Mixed By Bill
Reynolds and Aaron Price
at Collapseable Studios,
Asheville, NC

Heard on WNCW and other stations around NC.

Additional streaming music at www.hollywood-red.net

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

"With themes ranging from rock to soul, blues to funk, Hollywood Red delivers their Funky Mountain Rock with a sound that is fresh yet familiar, progressive yet reflective, and completely original." - Relix Magazine, Nov. 2006

“It’s like something you’ve heard all your life, but can’t remember where.”
-Asheville Disclaimer

In the same vein as Cream, Buddy Guy, or even Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys, only a few acts today can wield the intensity of a solid three piece rock band all the while continuing to blend the influences that make up their sound. Hollywood Red sets the stage and then proceeds to burn it down with their original material that breathes a
fire of familiarity.

2004 brought the release of the self-titled, debut album from Hollywood Red, which has received substantial airplay and national media coverage.
The band has their second release due out in late 2006 and looks to tour nationally in support of it.

Hollywood Red features Woody Wood (guitar, vocals), Aaron Price (bass, vocals), and John Spurrier (drums). Growing up in a bluegrass family, touring nationally with the widely successful Blue Rags, and sharing the stage with the likes of Warren Haynes and Carlos Santana, Woody Wood is a proven guitarist and showman. Aaron Price is well known as a multi-instrumentalist, recording engineer, and producer. As well as running Collapseable Studios in Asheville, NC, his fresh perspective and steady approach to performance keeps Hollywood Red forever pushing forward. John Spurrier is one of Charlotte, NC’s first call jazz and rock drummers. His rhythm and timing provides the backbone for Hollywood Red’s Funky Mountain Rock.

“...most likely to single-handedly tear down what seems like a hundred years of accumulated rock pomposity.”
-Sub Pop Free Press, Seattle, WA

Receiving airplay throughout the southeast and beyond, Hollywood Red sets out to intrigue new listeners with their infectious sound that is second to none.

www.hollywood-red.net

Hollywood Red has shared the stage with the following renowned artists:

Leon Russell, Warren Haynes, Carlos Santana,
Southern Culture on the Skids, The Doobie Brothers, Richard Green, Tony Rice, Del McCoury Band, Fred Wesley (James Brown), Bernie Worrell, Donald Harrison Jr., Cyril Neville (Funky Meters), Vassar Clements, Acoustic Syndicate, R.L. Burnside,
Michelle Shocked, String Cheese Incident, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Larry Keel, Artimus Pyle (Lynyrd Skynyrd), Leo Neocentelli, Tony Trischka, Jack Lawrence, A.L. Wood, Herschel Sizemore, Jimmy Martin, Snake Oil Medicine Show

Hollywood Red has performed at the following venues:

Wetlands New York, NY
Orange Peel Asheville, NC
Howlin’ Wolf New Orleans, LA
Lugano World Music Fest Switzerland
Oregon Country Fair Eugene, OR
Smilefest Union Grove, NC
Grassroots Festival Ithaca, NY
CBGB’s New York, NY
Birmingham City Stages Birmingham, AL
Skipper’s Smokehouse Tampa, FL
Tipitinas New Orleans, LA
Knitting Factory New York, NY
Warren Haynes Xmas Jam Asheville, NC
Maple Leaf New Orleans, LA
House of Blues Boston, MA
1000 Lakes Festival Milwaukee, WI
House of Blues New Orleans, LA
Grey Eagle Music Hall Asheville, NC

“Just listen to him, go see him, you’ll get the picture, you’ll be shocked, awe struck, and happy for a long time”
-Jukeboxalive.com