Austin band Wood and Wire celebrate evolving bluegrass sound on new ‘Mexico’


Wood and Wire’s new “Mexico” backs introspective lyrics (“Overblown”) with innovative instrumentation (the title track). The local bluegrass quartet supports its endlessly energetic debut Friday at Stubb’s indoors.

“We’ve been touring and we haven’t played a big show in Austin for a while,” guitarist Tony Kamel says. “I’m pumped to have a big rager. Stubb’s indoors is awesome, sounds great and feels good. I’m just looking forward to a good party!”

American-Statesman: Describe how the new album took shape.

Tony Kamel: This album is made up of some songs that we’d previously written individually and reformatted and rearranged as a band and several songs we wrote with the band in mind once we started playing together and feeling each other out.

How collaborative is your songwriting process?

It’s definitely a collaborative process at this point. When we first formed we had some songs we’d already written. Now, an individual might start the song and get an idea with some lyrics and an idea of the melody. Then we’ll bring it to a practice or something and finish the song together.

Tell the story behind writing the title track.

I started “Mexico” with just an idea for a chord progression and then I took it to (bassist) Dom (Fisher), who’s my roommate. He helped me rearrange the chords and laid down the arrangement. Once I had the chords worked out, then I sat down and luckily wrote all the lyrics in one sitting, which is rare. That banjo lick at the beginning we didn’t come up with until we got into the studio.

Did these songs typically evolve in the studio?

I think everyone’s different. Some sessions everything’s really laid out, (but) the sessions I’ve worked on there’s usually openness to change. In our case, we had a producer on board and every morning we’d sit down and play (songs) for him and he would make suggestions.

Describe working with (producer) Erick (Jaskowiak).

He’s an incredible sound engineer. I mean, the guy can get some of the most incredible acoustic sounds. On top of that, he’s a super cool, super laid-back guy with really good suggestions. He did the perfect amount of production advice and he wasn’t trying to change what we were doing. We all hit it off really well.

How did you find Erick?

Originally, we weren’t dead-set on going to Nashville to record, but we heard about Erick through our friend Carl Miner, who’s the guitar player for the Greencards. The whole situation just worked out beautifully and perfectly.

How much does living in Central Texas impact you as musicians?

Oh, big time, man. There are a lot of great players around here, a lot of incredible musicians in all kinds of genres. As far as the bluegrass scene goes, it’s growing and that’s affected us a lot. We’re really blessed and lucky to be apart of the budding scene in Austin. Some of the musicians here are insane.

Do any particular players stand out?

Well, the players in Milk Drive are some of the best musicians in the world. You really have to step up your game when you’re playing with musicians like that.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Music

Christmas display in California sets world record
Christmas display in California sets world record

The executive director of a California holiday display said San Jose's Christmas in the Park has set a Guinness world record, KGO reported. Jason Minsky said the 600 illuminated Christmas trees in one location set the world record. The paperwork has been accepted by Guinness, KGO reported. It will become official after Christmas in the Park documents...
In the mood for a rom-com? ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ still charms
In the mood for a rom-com? ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ still charms

There are a lot of shows opening in Austin the next few weeks specifically themed for the holiday season, but if you’re looking for a fun, cozy comedy full of warmth and cheer, Austin Shakespeare has an option that might fit the bill without a hint of tinsel in sight — their new production of “Much Ado about Nothing,” running...
Making turkey soup this weekend? Here’s our family’s favorite homemade noodle recipe
Making turkey soup this weekend? Here’s our family’s favorite homemade noodle recipe

I can think of few comfort foods I love more than my family’s chicken and noodles. Homemade noodles can become the star of any soup, but they particularly shine with leftover turkey and homemade stock. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman My mom learned how to make handmade noodles from one of my dad’s co-workers in the 1990s...
Here are 10 Texas whiskeys you might want on your holiday wish list
Here are 10 Texas whiskeys you might want on your holiday wish list

Kentucky isn’t the only state in the U.S. making top-of-the-line whiskey. Texas may not have been doing it for as long as America’s bourbon bastion, but our proud state has proven that we can still hold our own against legacy producers — perhaps in part because the whiskey industry here is still so young and willing to be adventurous...
2017 Beaujolais Nouveau wine label is created by a St. Petersburg artist
2017 Beaujolais Nouveau wine label is created by a St. Petersburg artist

Every year, there are bad things we can count on: taxes and death. And good things: Thanksgiving Day on the fourth Thursday of November and on the Thursday before, the Beaujolais nouveau arrives. What is less predictable is just how this vin de l'annee ("this year's wine") stacks up. Every now and then the young gamay from the Beaujolais...
More Stories