Matt Woods' Plan A
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Matt Woods' Plan A


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"Top 12 DIY Picks by Lee Zimmerman"

It’s only a matter of time before singer-songwriter Matt Woods finds wider recognition. His second album offers the immediacy and accessibility that major labels generally latch onto. On songs like “My Way,” “Flight to California” and “Lonely Ones,” Woods wades through one emotional tempest after another, garnering powerful, affecting performances that resonate even on first hearing.

Woods matches his commanding vocals with an ace backing band in Plan A. Together they provide the riveting, rock-solid arrangements these tunes call for—whether turning up the heat for a searing rocker or adding just the right touch of nuance to one of Woods’ searing, sad-eyed ballads. It’s that balance between frenzy and finesse that gives these rugged, restless narratives an unequivocal sense of determination and purpose.

- Performing Songwriter (Nov. 2007)

"A Change of Plan by Mike Gibson"

Plan A sounds like a song-oriented band, sure enough, but the songs are tough as well as tuneful, spurred on by more than enough overdriven guitar-play to satisfy fans of Magpie Suite.

Plan A's lyrics are a cut above most confessional rock songwriter fare. Woods is a plainspoken fellow, a guy who mostly wears his heart on his sleeve. But he's also capable of clever metaphor, of penning just the right wry observation to ensure that his deeply personal lyrics engage, coming off as universal reather than as maudlin or self-absorbed.
- Metro Pulse

"As a five-piece, Plan A has found the right fit"

Knoxville rock outfit Plan A is in its fourth year, but the group's current roster shares only one member with the original lineup. Matt Woods, vocalist and last remaining player from the founding lineup, has seen his band go through a multitude of changes over the past few years but finds more validity in the band's work now than ever before. As the band prepares to unveil its sophomore release, "Caught Up in the Fray," and commence touring, it must first deal with what has become a perpetual hurdle - its fluctuating lineup.
The departure of former bass player Brad Thomas left a vacancy on that instrument that Plan A filled with Moonshine Cherries drummer Eric Keeble, but as long as the band was reconfiguring its membership, the group chose to add another guitarist to the mix. Denny Meyers now rounds out the quintet as a part-time guitarist. Meyers is a former band mate of Woods from their days in Magpie Suite. Drummer Devan Brewer signed on to the act immediately after the recording of Plan A's upcoming release, leaving Woods and guitarist Brian Jolley as the band's veterans.
"The addition of Eric on bass came about as our former bass player had to step down due to personal conflicts," Woods says. "We are all still close friends, but he was going to be unable to manage being on the road in support of the release at this moment. This is a situation we have dealt with on many levels in the past. Being away from home and steady income definitely adds a certain amount of stress to one's life. We all support Brad in all of his undertakings and hated to see him go, but Eric has been a champ and a pleasure to make music with. He has jumped right in and tackled a lot of material. He is an excellent multi-instrumentalist and brings a ton of personality and talent to the project.
"We have recently started doing shows as a five-piece, with the addition of Denny on guitar. He and I have been making music together for many years. The depth of the recordings certainly lends itself to a five-piece arrangement, and we are really excited to have the opportunity to put together live performances that encompass a broader, more textured sound."
In addition to his work as the primary songwriter for Plan A, Woods has a solo project and is in the process of starting a country-based project. Yet he says "Caught Up in the Fray" is a result of the fluctuating lineup and that the album summarizes his personal lifelong dealings in music.
"The primary tracks for 'Caught Up in the Fray' were recorded at OMG Studios (owned in part by Edwin McCain and located in Greenville, S.C.)," says Woods. "Then we came back to Knoxville and put the finishing touches on at Shed 55 Studios. This project differs from the first as it had a much more in-depth pre-production period. Dave DeWitt and I worked through the tracks on this album for a long time at Shed before actually beginning the recording process in Greenville.
"This album also is more of a rocking record. It is not as acoustic guitar-based as the first endeavor, though it does have a couple of down-tempo tunes. I have been really pleased with the results of this recording, and a great deal of that is due to the work we did on the front end. OMG was a great experience. When we went in, we were only the third or fourth project to have worked in the brand-new, state-of-the-art facilities. 'Caught Up in the Fray' is also the first album which I have produced. It is my vision realized completely, and I am really pleased with the results. This band name on this album is Matt Woods' Plan A, and that is in part due to fact that this has been a collaborative effort in which I have played the role of a sort of mad scientist putting the pieces together from different parts of my personal musical history."
"Caught Up in the Fray" will be officially released at local music stores and online Tuesday. Plan A will celebrate the release with a show on Friday, May 11, at the Corner Lounge. This will only be Plan A's second appearance as a five-piece ensemble (the first was opening for Cake at Volapalooza). Also on the bill are close friends of Plan A and Orlando natives Hollidaysburg. The show is slated for 10 p.m. and will cost $5.
"I know some lingering Magpie Suite fans are happy to see Denny perform again," says Woods. "Personally, I can't wait to see our friends Hollidaysburg rock the Corner Lounge."
- Knoxville News-Sentinel (5.4.2007)

"Determination makes Plan A grow stronger"

It never bodes well for a band's future when, in the middle of the recording process for a new full-length album, two of the members turn in their letters of resignation.
But Matt Woods and Grant Houser, founders of the Knoxville power-pop band Plan A, never once considered throwing in the towel. If anything, it made them more determined than ever.
"We went into the studio with our original drummer, although he was leaving the band, and in the studio, we found out our original guitar player was leaving the band," Woods told The Daily Times this week. "But Grant and I knew we were always going to make it work, one way or the other. So we said to hell with it, and we made the record anyway, and when we came out of the studio with the finished product, we started looking for new guitar players."
The "finished product," as Woods calls it, is the album "The View Through These Words," released last fall. It's an incredible piece of pop-rock brilliance that ranks up there with releases by local power-pop darlings The French Broads and the Westside Daredevils. Whereas the term “pop" makes some fans cringe, reviews have described the album by saying that "when radio pop is as earnest and enthusiastic as Plan A's, any shame dissipates, leaving only a warm fuzzy feeling."
The band formed in spring 2003, with Woods bringing his earnest, pleading vocals from the Southern pop-rock outfit Magpie Suite. From the beginning, the band's chemistry was undeniable — months after forming, the single "Behind," which would wind up on "The View," was released to radio, announcing to the world that slide guitar could be incorporated into power-pop with genuine warmth and creativity.
"There's no real formula — we just write tunes that work," Woods said. "Grant's been in the band with me from day one, and we communicate with one another and are always on the same page when it comes down to the music. We've worked on enough music together now that we know what the target is. There's kind of an understood thing between us.”
Between Houser, Woods and the new band members, there's also the understanding that with playing music comes sacrifice. It's the reason they chose the band's name — to get back to basics and recapture the emotional intensity of why they started playing music in the first place; hence. Plan A.
"This band is able to do it on a broader scope." Woods said, "This band’s able to travel and actually push to make it on a larger scene, whereas in previous projects, I didn't really have that kind of freedom. It's hard to find guys that are willing to lose money and be on the road a lot of the time.
"And our reception on tour has always been great, man. We've sold records pretty much everywhere we've gone, and we'll be going back to Philly and New York in a couple of weeks and back down south in July. But we don't ever want to be the kind of
band that gets so wrapped up that we forget our home base. I love being on the road, but we're certainly a Knoxville band. I think to make the next step, to move into a larger arena, takes being out on the road, and that being said, Knoxville's a great place to be."
Being in Knoxville, he added, allows the band to cover roughly 70 markets all within a six-hour drive. That's a plus for a band that relies on catchy hooks and effervescent melodies in a scene that's heavy with quirky indie sounds and heavy rock droning.
"We're kind of somewhere in the middle in that we do pretty straightforward rock," Woods said, "I think there are a few bands in town doing similar stuff, but I think we're definitely in the minority."
The band's next album — ideally, Plan A would like to return to the studio this winter and have a new album out by spring 2006, Woods said — may focus more on the band's rock side, but at its core, it will still be pop.
"I think we have an edgier show than we have on the CD," he said. “I think the new stuff is embracing that a little more. I think it's a little more rocking and a little less acoustic-base. A lot of the music on 'The View' is written sort of around acoustic guitar, but the new stuff is a little more rocking."

Maryville Daily Times
Written by: Steve Wildsmith

- Maryville Daily Times

"Plan A - The View Through These Words (CD review)"

Plan A smokes through a set of engaging material, touching on themes typically associated with feel-good American rock with Southern roots. Don Coffey Jr. does a fine job as producer, his mission to strive to keep the group as tight and cohesive as possible, and with songs like the opener Somebody's Love and the heartbreaker My Heart Tonight, that objective was accomplished in fine fashion. Lead guitarist and front-man/vocalist Matt Woods sings with a great sense of passion and energy, and his work on songs such as Breaking Knoxville and Behind carry an eerie Rob Thomas like feel and presence. With a couple listens, one can find true similarities in instrumentation, vocals and style as major label kings Matchbox Twenty. How interesting. The songs are simple, yet effective, and the production is polished and delightful in overall sound quality. They seem to be headed in the right direction, and look to be serious contenders in the field, if they continue to be dedicated and hold on to their musical dreams. The harmony on Behind is exceptionally refined, and each detail of the instruments provided is convincingly realized. Overall, the songs are varied in mood and contrast, and Plan A's sense of creativity is approached on this record with a barnstorming like effect. Perhaps Plan A's biggest asset is their youth, exuberance and self-confidence, shone here in the recording and certainly, hopefully, delivered on stage, alluring the crowd and eagerly winning over new fans. The band's strongest weakness is the hefty length of most of their songs, yet the sparkling romancer of a ballad Beautiful in Blue and the darker Almost Perfect make up for their thoughts on that matter, and in the end, having fun is the name of the game. (self-released)
- Southest Performer

"Local CD Review - Plan A, The View Through These Words (11.4.2004)"

Sometimes pop music is a guilty pleasure, meant only to be enjoyed in your car or in the shower, where you can sing and play air drums in relative privacy. But when radio pop is as earnest and enthusiastic as Plan A’s, any shame dissipates, leaving only a warm fuzzy feeling. Recorded over the spring and summer 2004 with drummer and producer Don Coffey, Jr., with guitar and keyboard assistance from Tim Lee, Plan A’s debut disc is a solid representation of the band’s live show and a testament to their grasp on pop hooks. Magpie Suite veteran Matt Woods, who’s been making all the ladies swoon with his dreamy voice for years, leads the group with nice-guy confidence. His hooks and melodies frequently work better than his words play, but that’s fine; this isn’t Greek philosophy or rocket science. One of the disc’s standout tracks is “Behind,” a single already played regularly on 90.3 WUTK. It has a lopping gait, a slide guitar, a chorus of cheery harmonies and a great bittersweet sentiment: “Sometimes what you think you’ve lost isn’t really lost at all; sometimes it’s just left behind.” At its core a radio pop band, Plan A (which also features Grant Houser on bass, Bobby Chappell on drums and Jason Ellis on guitar and backing vocals) shifts gears at times to find a lighter acoustic tone as well as a rock groove that echoes the Black Crowes (“Desert Air”). Not as Southern as Magpie Suite was, Plan A still has its moments of laid-back drawl, mostly in Woods’ easy going voice. Add to the canon of songs about our fair city Plan A’s “Breaking Knoxville,” a nod to this town’s ability to challenge a citizen’s last nerve. “I’m breaking Knoxville…or Knoxville’s breaking me.” Well, before they’re broken down by the inequities of the music industry, Plan A threatens to break out everywhere—on their own terms—with this debut disc. - Metro Pulse

"One Damned Good Rock Band"

“Knoxville rock group Plan A is dead-set on a
mission: evolution. The band's origination in the
early 21st century lends to its modern, yet not
entirely "mainstream," sound. Led by
singer-songwriter/guitarist Matt Woods, the
four-member group has a definitive rock
style. In listening to their debut album,
"The View Through These Words,"
it's easy to pick out various influences - from
Edwin McCain and Drivin' N' Cryin', to
John Mellencamp and Tom Petty. The
lyrics are often gritty and point-blank,
conveying a sense of realism to stories of
lost love, strife, and ambiguity about the
future. This lends an easy relevance for
listeners, helping them mentally place themselves
in those same situations. Over the past few years,
their sound has become more refined, musically,
but without loss of the down-to-earth message
that fans appreciate. Plan A's sophomore album,
"Caught Up In the Fray," is due to be released in
May 2007, replete with new themes of life on the
road, surviving one's own ego, and realizing
lost love a little too late. The band has
developed its own unique sound, largely due
to the frontman's persistence and abundant
talent. It's just a matter of time before
Plan A receives greater recognition for what
local folks already know them to be:
one damned good rock band!”

- Bethany Tomkins (Knoxville 520/WUTK 90.3) - Bethany Tomkins

"Amplifier digs Plan A!"

"Plan A, Matt Woods' promising young outfit are teetering on the brink of discovery." - Amplifier Magazine


The View Through These Words

Released 2004
"My Heart Tonight," "Behind," and "Sunshine" all earned regional and college radio play!

Caught Up In The Fray

Released 2007
"My Way," "Flight To California," and "Lonely Ones" are currently spinning on several radio stations!

Matt Woods - Broken Strings & Beer Specials

Released 2008
"Songs," "All The Same," and "A Company Town" are now in rotation on East TN radio stations!

Tracks from Plan A albums also achieved heavy rotation on Guitar Center Radio in all GC stores nationwide!




First of all you should know Matt Woods has been a figure on the Southeastern music scene for nearly a decade. This East Tennessee native settled in Knoxville as an eager teenager in the mid-nineties and soon exploded onto the thriving scene which thrust bands such as Superdrag, The Judybats, and The V-Roys into the national spotlight. Since then he has enjoyed musical successes as both a solo performer and with several rock outfits. Along the way, Matt shared the stage with the likes of CAKE, Drivin’ n’ Cryin,’ Will Hoge, Kevn Kinney, Garrison Starr, Tim Lee, Mic Harrison (of the V-roys and Superdrag), Doug Gillard (of Guided by Voices), Col. Bruce Hampton, Graham Colton, Brian Vander Ark (of The Verve Pipe) and a seemingly never-ending list of talented independant artists who aren’t getting the widespread respect they deserve from points around the globe.

It was spring of 2004 when Matt’s Plan A vision started to take hold. Recording with producer Don Coffey, Jr. (Superdrag), the first Plan A album was crafted and then released into the world. 'The View Through These Words' (Disgraceland Records) received much acclaim and the band set out on the road in support of it’s debut. With that, Matt Woods’ Plan A was winning over crowds from New York’s infamous CBGB to Miami’s oldest venue, Tobacco Road (not to mention countless clubs in between).

Having a successful debut release and several supporting tours, the Plan A guys found themselves in Edwin McCain’s new OMG studios in the spring of 2006 to begin work on their follow-up album, 'Caught Up In The Fray.' Having taken time to do things right, Matt Woods’ Plan A has released their sophomore effort and will be on the road in support throughout 2008. The album, which has already begun to garner a great deal of buzz, is not to be missed. Rest assured you wil have your chance to catch this rising act along the way as they expand their touring radius expedentially.

In short, Plan A is the latest musical concoction from Matt Woods. This talented singer/songwriter has put together a top-notch rock band and an enchanting collection of tunes. Doing roughly 200 or so shows a year, Matt is bringing his experiences and stories to anyone who will listen.

"It's just a matter of time before Plan A receives greater recognition for what local folks already know them to be: one damned good rock band!”
- Bethany Tomkins (Knoxville 520/WUTK 90.3)

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