Woody
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Woody

Tampa, Florida, United States

Tampa, Florida, United States
Folk Alternative

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Florida native Forrest Detweiler, a.k.a. Woody, is a self-described flternative-folk musician. Drawing inspiration from “the people and world around him,” he “sees the world in a different light.” Culling from his experiences, he paints picturesque tales of love and relationships.

Tirelessly, Woody performs across the bay almost every night in settings ranging from dive bars to large venues. The singer will perform with Rebecca Loebe and Wil Erickson at the Attic Records Christmas Gala, 6 p.m. Saturday at the Hideaway Cafe, 1756 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. We were lucky enough to wrangle him for a few minutes to hear his story.

Tell me about your early musical awakenings and how you started.

Well, I grew up in a church that only had a cappella music. My dad was the one in charge of leading singing, so I would go and listen to him. ... I’ve been singing since I was a kid.

I started playing the trumpet when I was about eight and I went through college and got a trumpet performance degree. While I was in college, I got bored with the trumpet, because I don’t like sitting in a room by myself for eight hours; I’m more of a social creature. So, my best friend showed me how to play a little guitar.

I started to do music in church as a worship leader, and that’s when I started playing (guitar) and singing together. Then, I decided that I wanted to put a band together and write some music. It wasn’t church-related, it was just music.

I was married for a period of time and we had an agreement that I could do music and she would pay the bills. So I did that for a few years and I didn’t get anywhere. I did an album myself and I had a little conversation with Atlantic Records. He said, “Hey, man, you got a great voice, you got great music, but you don’t have a fan base.” I said, “You’re right.” I lived in the middle of nowhere and was married; I wasn’t able to go anywhere and play.

After the three years was up for our agreement, I went back to the work force and did some different sales jobs. I got divorced, lost my job and said “You know what, f--- it, I’m gonna start playing music.” That was almost three years ago. I’ve been playing music full time (since then). I’ve been playing cover gigs around bars. It put me in front of people, had me writing music and meeting musicians, and having a blast.

I just signed with a small, local record label called Attic Records about four months ago. I’m their first artist. We put an album out the end of August; that’s my first solo album (Paris). I’m really proud of it. We had a great time putting it together.

How would you classify your vocal style? I noticed a similarity to Mumford and Sons.

The first time I heard them I was in Los Angeles at a bar in Hollywood: Chateau Marmont. This is while I was doing my sales job, before I started playing music again. I was with my aunt, and she looked at me and said, “This sounds like your singing.” So I went over and asked the DJ who it was. So I went, looked them up and downloaded their album. I was before Mumford and Sons, (laughs) except nobody heard of me.

Do you feel you have a duty as an artist?

Certainly, as a human being, I have a duty be true to myself and do what I love. That makes me a happy human being. As an artist, I think it’s important for me to be authentic and play stuff that I like playin’. Express myself through that and write honestly, be authentic with my writing and the things I say.

As far as a goal as a musician, is to be as successful as possible and to connect with as many people. My goal is to go around and play for as many people as I can and make it a party wherever I go. - Aaron Lepley, TBT


Standalone single "Wagon Wheel" promised a great deal. Its likeable folk rock style brought to mind the Mumfords and Avetts, and was "pop" enough for radio. Once embedded, it also caused subconscious outbursts of humming and whistling - the sort of thing that prevents the less confident from sitting next to you on public transport. "Paris" delivers on that promise, though just eight tracks long (31 min.) there's not quite enough of it, though the old adage about leaving them wanting more is always worth remembering.

With his band The Nutcrackers, Woody has established himself on the local Tampa Bay circuit, and they're both regulars on festival stages throughout Florida. A native of the state, there's no shortage of sunshine in his songs, and it's that feel good, summer buzz that gives "Paris" its edge. "Shine" and "Happy Days" are the most relevant examples; the latter track in particular inspires long lazy afternoons in the company of long cold beverages. The title track is fun and sounds as if it might have been recorded live, though other tracks like "Never Grow Old" reveal a more serious side, a large part of the album's appeal is when themes do become a little earnest, important things like tunes and great hooks are never sacrificed. - Leicester Bangs


Forrest Detwiler is the Woody in Woody and the Nutcrackers, a South Tampa pop-rock act that has performed at various bars and venues around Tampa Bay. His acoustic fare is remarkably polished (see the new single Never Grow Old), but the plugged-in stuff is good too. All of it compares favorably to the likes of Toad the Wet Sprocket, The Fray and The Script. Combine that with Detwiler's winning lyrics and stage presence, and it's a band to watch out for the next time you head out for a night in South Tampa.

On Saturday, Woody and the Nutcrackers will headline the Calusa Music and Arts Festival at Collage in Ybor City, alongside the Groves, Goodnight Neverland, The August Name and others. Tickets are $16. Click here for details. - Tampa Bay Times


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Born in the town of Loxahatchee, Florida native Woody has a passion for music that sparked when he was just six years old, singing in an a cappella choir at his local church. Born with a natural vocal ability, Woody grew up with a variety of musical influences including gospel and jazz, with a strong country base influenced by legends such as Garth Brooks. This singer/songwriter explores a diverse selection of musical stylings, including rock, country, acoustic, folk, and blues, accompanied by soulful vocals and an energetic stage presence. His creative guitar riffs and unique vocal arrangements echo the sounds of Bob Dylan, Dave Matthews and Gavin Degraw.

Woody and his band have carved a niche for themselves as one of Tampa’s leading musical acts. They consistently headline at notable venues such as Skipper’s Smokehouse. In February 2012, the Tampa Bay Times featured the band in “Tampa’s Ultimate Local Music Guide”. Shortly after, Woody headlined the Calusa Music and Arts Festival held in historic Ybor City and performed in Curtis Hixon Park’s Friday Extra Concert Series.

In 2012, Woody shared the stage with several national acts including platinum recording artist Sister Hazel, Brandi Carlile, Andy Grammer, Michael Tolcher, and Rebecca Loebe. Taking the stage as a solo performer or with his backing band, Woody grabs the crowds attention and pulls each listener into his world.

Woody’s stripped production and soulful lyrics can be heard on his first solo album entitled "Paris" with Attic Records released internationally in August 2012. You can listen on Itunes, Spotify, Pandora, on Facebook, and at Reverb Nation and of course at one of his sensational live shows!!