'Fall Too Fast' (2008)
By The Wood Brothers in 2008Updated Jun 2021
From early in their childhood in Boulder, Colorado, Chris and Oliver were steeped in American roots music. Their father, a molecular biologist, performed classic songs at camp fires and family gatherings,…
From early in their childhood in Boulder, Colorado, Chris and Oliver were steeped in American roots music. Their father, a molecular biologist, performed classic songs at camp fires and family gatherings, while their mother, a poet, instilled a passion for storytelling and turn of phrase. The brothers bonded over bluesmen such as Jimmy Reed and Lightnin' Hopkins, but their paths, musical and otherwise, would diverge.
Oliver moved to Atlanta, where he played guitar in cover bands before earning a spot in Tinsley Ellis’s touring act. At Ellis’s behest, Oliver began to sing and then founded King Johnson, a hard-touring group that released six albums of blues-inflected R&B, funk and country over the next 12 years. Chris, meanwhile, studied jazz bass at the New England Conservatory of Music, moved to New York City and, in the early 1990s, formed Medeski Martin & Wood (MMW), which over the next two decades would become a cornerstone of contemporary jazz and abstract music.
After pursuing separate musical careers for some 15 years, the brothers performed together at a show in North Carolina: Oliver sat in with MMW following King Johnson’s opening set. "I realized we should be playing music together," Chris recalled.
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