Jo-Jo O' & The WOODS
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Jo-Jo O' & The WOODS

Lacombe, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Lacombe, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Duo Rock Blues




"Congratulations! THE 17 X $10K WINNERS ARE NOW AWARDED!"

The jury has chosen the 17 Small Town Music Video winners! Winners each receive a $10,000 grant and distribution on TELUS Optik™ TV On Demand.

STORYHIVE is a simple production funding and distribution competition for emerging content creators in BC and Alberta

March 18 - April 22
Team up with a Video or Music Lead, pitch your music video idea and plan for your production.

2. Moderate and Award
April 23 - May 4
The jury awards 17 projects (9 from BC and 8 from AB) $10K each in production grants.

3. Production & Delivery
May 5 - June 22
The 17 favourites each get $10k to produce their music video, which will be published for Phase 2 community voting and showcased on TELUS Optik™ TV On Demand and online. - TELUS STORYHIVE

"6 early standouts from Searchlight 2016"

Searchlight 2016 officially begins today. Starting at 3:00 pm EST, you can watch the best and brightest up-and-coming artists from your area. Over 2,000 musicians from across the country entered, but only one can win the $50,000 in grand prizing.

With so many entries, we're going to continue to highlight artists each week. Today, we take a closer look at moody R&B singer JDSYN, one-woman tour-de-force Cassandra Bangel, Montreal rockers Made Them Lions, Calgary's hip-hop sextet Midwest Mindset, rural Alberta duo Jo-Jo O' & the Woods and Ottawa band of brothers Forestier.

Click the video above for more, and don't forget to vote for your favourites, beginning today at 3:00 pm EST. You can vote for as many artists as you like, once per day, at - CBC Music

"ISC 2016 Semifinalists Announced"

Jo-Jo O'Donoghue, Rylan Woods (Jo-Jo O' And The Woods)
Lacombe, AB, Canada
Oh! Brother
Unsigned Only - International Songwriting Competition

"Jo-Jo O’ & The Woods – Old Friends & Lost Souls"

I’ve been fortunate to have shared the stage at a few open-mic session nights over the past few months with Jo-Jo O’ & The Woods and as can happen when a little admiration and shared fun gets experienced this can lead to a little CD-swapping (one of my favourite artist activities) which in this case has inevitably lead to me reserving a little snug Blog corner for this review.

And what’s great about writing about their charming and classy 6-Track EP ‘Old Friends & Lost Souls’ is the fact that I have also heard the tracks live a few times; plus the Album comes with the ultimate endorsement – my kids started spontaneously singing along to the opening number when I first popped it in the player – High praise indeed in my part of the world!

The first thing that will strike you about this lovely duo combo is the rich resonant sultry voice of Jo-Jo O’Donoghue, a little reminiscent of the late Amy Winehouse, complimented nicely by the polished guitar licks of Rylan Woods; and while I would describe it as country tinged cowboy rock with a bluesy touch, I would also say that this is music that’s trying to find a category of its own; plus it all comes with a Canadian charm – yes – I wasn’t surprised to hear they hailed from a small town outside Calgary, a place famous for its horses and rodeos. And while Jo-Jo is quick to point out that her mum is Irish, I always love when you can hear where a person is from when they play their music and sing their songs – it’s always a sign of authenticity which is what I hear here.

It’s hard not to be charmed by their EP –with 6 songs let’s call it a mini-album – it catches your attention right from the opening bars of the first track ‘Old Friends’ with its foot-stomping crescendo building; through the electric guitar driven rock of ‘My Babe, and into the distinctive chimes of ‘Oh Brother’ – a groove that holds you in its spell so much you find yourself humming along, and then into ‘Gypsy Blues’ where Jo-Jo’s powerful voice fits right at home as she instinctively knows when to let rip and when to beguile, before the country rock of ‘Sweet Alexandra’ brings us into the wistful and poignant closing ballad ‘Cradle to the Grave’, arguably their best song, which is so captivating that people ask for the lyrics afterwards….and though it’s a love song it feels like a lament or an elegy as there’s a touch of sadness colouring it…”I’m gonna walk with you from the cradle to the grave, with you beside me along the way, I’m gonna love you from the cradle to the grave, cause how could I die any other way.”

The Songs really grow on you, and though I’ve had the advantage of hearing them played a few times live, they’re good enough to make you want to go out and see them live if you haven’t, which is a compliment in itself and for most musicians is the whole reason behind making the record in the first place. And I would definitely recommend catching them live as they don’t disappoint – I was struck by the fact that, though they had only really arrived permanently in Ireland in the middle of last year, that they really gave the feel of a band who had made themselves at home, playing with ease and accomplishment and loads of fun, and sounding more experienced than their years.

Jo-Jo is a magnetic performer – as soon as they start up she immediately gets the attention of every guy and girl in the place, the type of performer who has people reaching for their IPhones to record and photograph them, gregarious and generous, they’re happy to hang around for the whole night to jam with the other musicians, with Jo-Jo’s powerful backing vocals making us all sound good, and then at the end they’re eager to chat and happy to swap CDs with fellow musos.

Undoubtedly, they’ve got the talent, the confidence, the sound and the looks, and if they can come up more good tunes and a few stronger more original songs their future will be bright.

My abiding memory will be of hearing them do a version of fellow Canadian Leonard Cohen’s haunting ballad Hallelujah, and though she very charmingly needed the aid of a lyric sheet, it was magical…

Liam Oragh.

Website (including EP buy link) - Independent Music Review, Dublin

"Old Friends and Lost Souls – Jo-Jo O’ & The Woods"

Last Tuesday evening a couple of cool looking muso dudes arrived in to us at the Musicians & Songwriters Dublin weekly showcase of original music in Darkey Kelly’s. Jo Jo and Rylan, lately of Canada, hoping to play a few songs. I quickly said yes as I reckoned if they sounded even half as good as they looked we’d be in for a treat, and of course who could resist those genuine Canadian smiles ? When their turn came they graced us with their wonderful warm and captivating blend of Soulful Blues. I loved the ease and precision of Rylan’s guitar playing, plenty of space left for the groove to move. Jo Jo’s vocals were equally impressive, the girl sure can sing and soar. She can pull you right into a song and take you beyond the limits that box in most ordinary singers. She can take a note, twist it, turn it, toss it and all the time still be both on pitch and touching your very Soul. Jo Jo and Rylan have been playing together for quite a while now and that experience shows, they can communicate with just a look, clearly connected on the same musical and creative plain.

And so to ‘Old Friends & Lost Souls’ their new six track CD. I left Darkey’s clutching my copy and just dying to get home to my CD player to give it a spin. It did not disappoint, I could hear and feel the same heart and soul in the recordings as I had experienced hearing them live. ‘ These six songs are the epitome of our journey over the last six years to our musical identity, and fragments of our struggle as artists trying to find our way, without forgetting our beginnings...’ so says their web site and I can definitely feel and hear the passion and truth of that journey in their music.

Old Friends

My Babe

Oh Brother

Gypsy Blues

Sweet Alexandra

Cradle To The Grave

Just look at those titles, oozing blues, groove and soul. Stories of their musical journey, their life, stories that will draw you right in. These two youngsters set out on the road together whilst still in their teens and over the past ten years or so have honed and refined both their writing and stagecraft, they are definitely ready for a world stage.

On the recording they are joined by some guest musicians but I am delighted to say that the guests add to the mix and nowhere swamp it. Jo Jo & Rylan are the essential ingredients with the others adding some tasteful colour here and there. On ‘Cradle To the Grave’ Rylan picks up the lead vocal, soft and assured, you gotta love it. Have I a favourite track ? That’s easy, all of them. A mix of slow and simmering, uptempo and flowing music to delight the ears, the heart, the soul.

Fast forward to last Friday and the guys popped in to my Solo gig and I just had to have them do a guest spot, Safe to say they totally captivated the crowd and… on Saturday ran into them on Grafton Street so we headed for O’Donoghues on merrion Row, took turns singing and playing and again they hooked everyone who heard them. They are consistently perform to a high and professional standard, this combined with their great songwriting surely has to open doors for them. I personally am honoured to have heard them, played with them, got to know them and wish them huge success. They are truly ready and capable.

Tony Floyd Kenna – September 1st. 2015.

itunes link

Site link

My Babe on youtube - Independent Music Review Ireland

"Jo-Jo O' & The WOODS"

Jo-Jo O' & The WOODS is Irish-Canadian singer/songwriter; Jo-Jo O'Donoghue and songwriter/musician; Rylan Woods. The musical duo met in 1993 in their Kindergarten class. Their musical journey began ten years later in a basement jam space in their quaint rural home town of Lacombe, Alberta, in the wild western prairies of Canada and they have been hard at work creating their world ever since. Jo-Jo O' & The WOODS are a whirlwind of theatrics, music, fashion, imagery and stories - Inspired by the earth and its elements, the ways of the past and the promise for the future. They take just as much pride in the world they have crafted around their band, as they do in the music itself.

Greatly inspired by theatre and visual art, as well as the music of her parents and grandparents generation, Jo-Jo O' has a very strong connection to the past. Vocally identifying with american blues, jazz and soul sounds, she is deeply moved by Irish folk music and story telling, as well as all aspects of pushing the limit of the human instrument. Mr. Woods cut his teeth playing in Punk bands and listening to Rock & Roll as a kid, before stumbling over the blues and Americana music in his early song writing days. Together they have created a balancing act of thick, bluesy melodies, wailing rock and roll, and subtle folk-roots story telling. Both as light, airy and fun, as it is heavy, dark and gritty.

Their debut six song EP 'Old Friends & Lost Souls' was self recorded and produced in their very own, Big City Studios in Morningside, Alberta - with the help of old friend, Mr. Nich Davies of Root Cellar Productions, Edmonton, Alberta. In the wake of releasing their EP this past April, the duo found themselves relocating to the old country and have found much inspiration for their next album there. You can find them playing about The Fair City, and wandering through the rest of Ireland and the UK this winter, as they prepare for their next full length record. - Equal Fashion Magazine - Belfast

"Exploring the unique, hybrid sound that is ‘Jo-Jo O’ & The WOODS’"

Lacombe-grown Jo-Jo O’Donoghue and Rylan Woods have created an amazing blend of punk, blues and folk music with ‘Jo-Jo O & The WOODS’. The pair has been making music together for over a decade and is currently exploring Ireland to seek inspiration as they prepare for their next full-length album. O’Donoghue and Woods caught up with the Express via Skype to talk about the evolution of their sound, their recent digital release of their EP Old Friends & Lost Souls and their experiences as musicians. The pair talked about their ambiguous sound and why they find it hard to describe specifically. “We didn’t set out to write a certain sound – we just kind of started writing songs and picked our favourite ones and recorded them. I think it’s blues-rooted for sure, and I would say that I’m a blues singer,” O’Donoghue said. “I wouldn’t say that we shoot for any specific sound. If I wake up tomorrow and want to write a folk song, and a blues song the next day and then a rap – I probably won’t ever write a rap – but I’d like to have the freedom to do that. “You are always changing, so you can’t just subscribe to making one kind of music because as it changes, that music becomes you,” she said. Prior to Jo-Jo O’ & The WOODS, Woods played in a punk band for several years that O’Donoghue eventually joined. “I would say that we both have a thing for ‘roots’ music – blues, and folk and those kinds of things. It’s that, and then it’s our childhood upbringing which was more playing punk rock, so it’s a cool little branch where these things come together,” Woods said. He added that with Jo-Jo O’ & The WOODS, the writing and creation experience was very different than previously and it allowed him to embrace new styles and kinds of writing. “I think the way that I go about songwriting is definitely different because when you’re playing with rock bands there’s a big group and you’re focused more on the music first. We’d almost put a whole song together, then give it to Jo and tell her to do something with it,” Woods said. O’Donoghue chimed in saying, “They’d write these big rock songs that were all just the boys being rock stars, and then I’d just have to throw something over it. Now, it’s not all just ‘cool’ guitar parts or ‘cool’ drum breaks and then trying to squeeze a song and a melody or story into that. Now, we write the song, write the melody and then write the story and then take that and make it into a song.” Woods laughed and continued, “Now I’m a lot more focused on the song as a whole. With this EP, we wrote everything just us two, and rehearsed everything just by ourselves so a lot of it was done acoustically. When we went to the studio with a full band and brought in other instruments– it was almost like we started building something that we didn’t know we would.” The Old Friends & Lost Souls EP was produced in Alberta with help from friends Nich Davies on percussion and keyboards, Kurtis Cockerill on bass and Natalie Humble on trumpet. Woods said this was a challenge but also a fun aspect of recording Old Friends & Lost Souls. “Sometimes, bringing in other instruments also makes you feel like some things shouldn’t be there, because the song becomes too over the top, or too long or whatever. A lot of things can switch. We didn’t switch too much, but there are layers of guitar parts over top of each other so you have to make room for them and making it all work with the other components of the song.” Jo-Jo O’ & The WOODS has a small repertoire of songs, but have dedicated much time and effort into ensuring that they produce a quality product. “Recording is a cruel mistress. I am anally retentive – I am a perfectionist. I’ll do it all day, and then the next day and then the next day and it will keep me awake at night. That’s what my challenge is – it’s never good enough. There just comes a time when you have to just have to say it’s done,” said O’Donoghue. “The process changed from just focusing on what we were writing to also working on ourselves as songwriters.” Currently, the two are in Dublin planning out a small tour through the country. “During out time here in Ireland, we are gigging our way across the country and hopefully the British Isles as well. We are also in the early stages of writing our next full-length venture. “We hope to finish writing that here in Ireland and return back home sometime this year to record in our own studio. For me, Ireland is a very spiritual place, a dear friend of ours said it best – Ireland is a hospital for the soul,” said O’Donoghue. Old Friends & Lost Souls is streaming on Soundcloud and available on iTunes. - Red Deer Express

"Jo-Jo O' & The WOODS with The Famous Six at BELNASH"

What are a pair of 'late 20-something' Canadians, three of Dublin's coolest Rock and Roll Dads, and one blonde, blue-eyed bluesy Belfast woman, playing together at The Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival, under the name 'The Famous Six'? Where does one even begin to explain this anomaly? ?

We had arrived in Dublin, Ireland last May, by August we found ourselves swallowed whole by the enigma that is Darkey Kelly's. A little pub tucked around the corner from the bustle of Dame Street, and a hop and a skip from Temple Bar.
I don't know what is was about this pub? but I felt I had arrived exactly where I was supposed to be. We; Jo-Jo O' & The WOODS, A random pair of Canadian songwriters, had become regular members of The Musicians and Songwriters Collective of Dublin, and
performed our original music every Tuesday at Darkey Kelly's, shoulder to shoulder with the local acts, men and women of all ages and walks of life, performing for audiences from all over the world. There we would establish friendships with this motley crew of artists, patrons, and the Darkey's Boys, who we affectionately refer to as our 'Irish Dads' (behind their backs, of course.)

'The Famous Six' is the brain child of one Tony Floyd Kenna, creator and orchestra-tor of The Dublin Collective. Tony, a warm, gregarious force of nature - I think I speak f or us all when I say he is a man we all struggle to keep up with. One Tuesday evening in November, Tony tells Rylan and I that we will be playing at "BelNash" in March;
"Three duos, Six voices, Twelve eyes, songs to stir your heart and soul. Writing and performing partnerships forged in the furnace of life." - An excerpt from Tony's proposal. It was that easy. And then we were the Famous Six, a band made up of three bands, shipped up to Belfast to represent The Dublin Collective.

We played in the Syrian Room at the Clayton Hotel, an intimate setting, un-plugged, the three duo's taking turns performing whilst the rest of us acted as a supporting band. We discussed with the audience how the songs came to life, how they evolved into what they are today. The festival was an absolute blast, I, an introvert, cursed with a very loud voice - usually unwilling to randomly burst into song with strangers (despite my theatre school background…) found myself belting big backup vocals in the round to the old Presley tune 'That's Alright' … it wasn't until we collapsed in our hotel room at 4:00 am over a pizza, that Rylan told me that I was singing all over multi Grammy award winning artist, Jim Lauderdale himself. (If I ever wanted to die, it was surely in that moment…) But that is the
beauty of this festival, we are all artists, from somewhere, who wrote something, your ego checked at the door. This festival was about the music, about the songwriter. Not so much a festival, as a celebration of song writing, and we were all there for the same reason.

Music, videos and upcoming tour details can be found on the band website Watch for the duo back in Ireland and Northern Ireland with The Famous Six later this year. - Equal Fashion Magazine


Old Friends & Lost Souls - released April 15, 2015 by Jo-Jo O' & The WOODS
6 Tracks - 23:01 Run Time

Old Friends 4:37
My Babe 3:05
Oh! Brother  4:57
Gypsy Blues 2:53
Sweet Alexandra 3:10
Cradle to the Grave 4:16



Jo-Jo O' & The WOODS is a songwriting partnership forged in primary school. Following the release of their 6 track EP ‘Old Friends & Lost Souls’ in April 2015, the duo toured Ireland and Northern Ireland, before setting their sights back on North American soil. They have booked over 150 performances since the band became active, including two showcases at this year's Canadian Music Week in Toronto & two upcoming slots in Pennsylvania, USA's MusikFest in August. O’Donoghue & Woods have created an undeniable and distinctive sound; dark and moody, forward-driving rock and roll, built on the solid foundation of traditional folk songwriting and storytelling- Conjured by a force of nature, powerhouse vocalist.

Together, the duo invokes a rock and roll arena sound and spectacle that when translated to an intimate acoustic setting, is inconsequential. Their versatility is mastered. Their vulnerability is jarring. Their authenticity is powerful. 

Jo-Jo O’ & The WOODS is currently wrapping up the writing and recording of their full-length album, set to release in late 2017.

LIVE PERFORMANCES (see for full gig history and upcoming shows)

Ireland & Northern Ireland

  • Sep 2015-March 2016 - 70 gigs and showcases including: Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival (Mar 2016), two night/ week residency at Darkey Kelly’s Pub, Dublin (Jan-Mar 2016)
  • Feb-March 2017, Irish Spring Tour, 17 dates, 4 week tour


  • May 2016–May 2017 - 37 shows including Lilac Festival, Marda Gras, Big Winter Classic, Road to Indie Week and Woodstock 2016 festival. $2.70 average merch/head rate.
  • Dec 2016 – 330 tickets (400 cap) Vinyl Release Show at Bo’s Bar & Stage, Red Deer. $4.70 merch/head rate.
  • Canadian Music Week 2017 Showcases - Toronto,Grace O’Malley’s (Apr 20), The Paddock Tavern (Apr 21)
  • VIA Rail - Artist On Board Program - May 3-6, May 13-16 (Edmonton-Toronto round-trip)


  • Duo and full band  - 14 dates booked in to August 2017 - AB, SK, ON (CANADA), PA(USA), Barcelona (Spain)
  • MusikFest 2017 - Lyrikplatz Stage - Aug 12, 13


  • Metro Calgary, Jan 2016 (Canada Boy Closure)

  • The Red Deer Express, Dec 2016 (Vinyl EP Release)

  • 106.7 The Drive, Red Deer, Dec 2016 (In-Studio interview, Vinyl EP Release)

  • The Lacombe Globe, July 2016 (TELUS Storyhive Winners)

  • Metro Calgary, July 2016 (4th Street Lilac Festival performance)

  • EQUAL Fashion Magazine, Northern Ireland, June 2016 (9 page feature - Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival Editorial)

  •, May 2016 (TELUS Storyhive Winners)

  • CBC Music, Mar 2016 (Searchlight 2016 early contenders)

  • EQUAL Fashion Magazine, Northern Ireland, Dec 2015 (6 page Artist feature)

  • Dublin’s Musicians & Songwriters Collective & Music Review, Sep 2015 (live acoustic set and EP)

  • The Red Deer Express, July 2015 (EP release)

RADIO (All 6 EP singles have received radio play)

  • Canada: CKUA, CBC Radio, 106.7 The Drive

  • Ireland & The UK: RTE Radio 1, TXFM, Dublin City FM, NEAR FM, The After 10 Club, Soundcheck Radio NI, GCR Digital Radio Greystones


  • ‘Old Friends’ official music video distributed TELUS Optik™ TV On Demand (July 2016)

  • ‘Old Friends’ live studio session on Irish television with the Dublin Institute of Technology Film & Broadcasting program (Dec 2015)

  • ‘Old Friends’ featured in the closing credits of CityTV Edmonton’s Short Film Showcase (May 2015)


  • ‘Oh! Brother’ - Semi-finalist, International Songwriting Competition (Mar 2016)

  • ‘Oh! Brother’ official music video, regional semifinalist CBC Searchlight 2016 (Apr 2016)

  • ‘Old Friends’ - $10,000 TELUS STORYHIVE Small Town Music Video Grant (May 2016)

The band’s combination of instrumental skills, vocal prowess, songwriting strength and authentic showmanship is a rarity, and has established Jo-Jo O’ & The WOODS not only as a crowd-pleaser, but as a rising new Canadian act.

Band Members