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Band feels at home in small-town atmosphere

Saturday's headliner borrows country, jazz

Published: Thursday, July 3, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, July 4, 2014 6:15 p.m. CDT
The Wood Brothers borrow from genres that include blues, country and jazz. The band will headline the main stage at 7:30 p.m. Saturday along the Dixon riverfront during Petunia Festival.

DIXON – For a group that has played in front of huge crowds at festivals like Bonnaroo, and has a song, “Luckiest Man,” with more than 1 million plays on Spotify, the joy of a small-town show still remains for The Wood Brothers.

“We love that,” said Oliver Wood, singer and guitarist. “It’s when I have the most fun, when the audience is right there in front of you and can participate.”

That atmosphere will be on tap when The Wood Brothers perform at 9:30 p.m. Saturday on the main stage along the riverfront during the Petunia Festival.

The band consists of real-life brothers Oliver and Chris (upright bass), who grew up in Boulder, Colorado, and Jano Rix, who plays multiple instruments.

“We all sing, and borrow from all kinds of traditions, like country and jazz,” Oliver said. “It’s roots music with an original twist.”

So far, The Wood Brothers have been spending the summer performing at fairs and festivals, many similar to Petunia Festival. The band plans to have a more traditional tour in the fall in the Southeast and Midwest.

A new record is also on the horizon.

“The plan is to record a new album at the beginning of next year and have it out in the spring,” Oliver said. “We’re writing and recording for the album right now.”

The Wood Brothers have been together for 10 years, forming in 2004. But before that, the brothers spent more than a decade playing music separately.

Since joining forces, the band has experienced some pretty special moments, Oliver said.

“We got to play with Levon Helm of The Band before he died and sang ‘The Weight’ with him,” he said. “That was such an honor.”

But the busy lifestyle of a professional musician has its ups and downs, like anything else, Oliver said.

“It’s a challenge to balance life on the road with spending time with family,” Oliver said. “Sitting in vehicles for long hours on the road is not that fun sometimes.”

It’s those exciting moments, ranging from festivals like Bonnaroo to more humble settings such as Petunia Festival, that keep the band going.

“We love going somewhere new. There’s something about the energy of a small-town show that is so intimate,” Oliver said. “We’re looking forward to it.”

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