Wood & Wire to bring Texas twang to The Burl

This article originally appeared in the Kentucky Kernel.

Bluegrass and country music are synonymous with Texas as a whole, but not necessarily Austin, which boasts one of the country’s most eclectic and diverse music scenes along with being home to the wildly popular South by Southwest music festival. However, don’t tell that to progressive bluegrass foursome Wood & Wire. 

According to guitarist Tony Kamel, the wide array of music in the band’s hometown has managed to seep its way into Wood & Wire’s mix of progressive bluegrass.

“Texas is known as a hotbed for songwriters, Austin especially, so when it comes to the way we present our form of bluegrass it’s really based on songs and not around a strict set of rules that a traditional bluegrass player may feel like they need to follow,” Kamel said.

Wood & Wire was formed by Kamel and bassist Dom Fisher in 2011. Soon after banjoist Trevor Smith entered the fold, followed most recently by Billy Bright on mandolin, who previously played with Peter Rowan and once gave Kamel mandolin lessons. Per Kamel, the four became acquainted while performing at the Old Settler’s Music Festival in nearby Driftwood along with at a local Monday night bluegrass gig in downtown Austin.

At the end of January, Wood & Wire jumped back into the studio to begin work on their third studio record at The Zone in Dripping Springs. The record will be their first with Bright on board, whom Kamel credits for elevating the rest of the band members level of musicianship due to his wealth of experience performing.

“We’ve now had Billy longer than we haven’t, but that was the beginning of figuring out what we wanted to sound like and what felt best to us, and to be honest, that was after we’d already released two records,” Kamel said.

In a perfect world, Kamel hopes to lay down 20 new songs during their studio time, with half of them comprising the new record and the leftovers being released intermittently through social media.

Being the group’s primary songwriter, Kamel is constantly writing new material, typically getting to work on a melody or a few catchy lines the moment an idea pops into his head. A few times a year Kamel drives out to a plot of family property in Llano to work on songs he’d previously started but has yet to finish. Once completed, Kamel presents the tunes to the band.

 

“A big part of my personal songwriting process is taking these ideas to the band and having them work through them with me,” Kamel said. “They can rearrange it and that will light a fire under my ass and get me more excited, because ultimately they make the tunes better.”

Wood & Wire will perform at 7 p.m. show in Lexington on Sunday, Feb. 26 at The Burl with support from locals Trucker Hat Coalition. Tickets range from $7-10 and you must be 21 years or older to attend.

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