Saturday, January 31st, 2009
Alex Woodard and Sara Watkins continue the recent trend of rock/pop leaning artists dueting with country artists. For those who don’t know, Watkins was a member of the stellar Southern California-bred progressive bluegrass/acoustic trio, Nickel Creek. And Woodard, a Southern California surfer boy, is an independent roots rocker who released his self-titled album in August 2008.
This cut, which is found on Woodard’s album, showcases beautiful vocals by both artists – Woodard’s smooth voice is imbued with depth and confidence, and Watkins lovely voice is tinged with the right amount of wistful emotion. Unfortunately, neither the song - a ballad contemplating the end of a relationship - nor the production, do the artists justice. It is a surprise because Woodard is an excellent songwriter and Watkins an accomplished fiddler/violinist. However, in this instance, the lyrics are rather forgettable, and instead of coloring the song with genuine emotion, the violin-backed production comes off as slightly schmaltzy and pedestrian.
As both are talented, with different material, I look forward to hearing more from them – separately or together – in the future.
Tuesday, August 19th, 2008
Today we’re featuring Alex Woodard, as this is the release date of his new album, Alex Woodard. The song for download, “Reno”, features Sara Watkins, who is most known for her work in Nickel Creek. Longtime readers know how much we dig Nickel Creek in these parts, so check this one out.
Here’s the press release:
Singer/songwriter Alex Woodard will release his new, self-titled album tomorrow, August 19, on Woodshack Music/Adrenaline Music Group. With his undeniable, story-driven songwriting, Woodard tackles universal themes like love, loss, hope, and struggle, tapping into a rich vein of country-rock that George Varga, Music Editor of the San Diego Union Tribune, calls, “An accomplished collection that suggests broader success is close at hand…Woodard’s well-crafted songs are cut from the same cloth as Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, and John Mellencamp, whose music eloquently captures earthy truths about living, loving and growing older without losing the dreams of youth. His words and music are right on target.” Allmusic.com also raves, “Woodard pens tales instantly recognizable, for they’re American stories we’ve all lived and shared, with the album holding a mirror to us all.”
Joining Woodard on the new album is Nickel Creek’s singer/fiddler and fellow San Diego surfer Sara Watkins, who duets with him on “Reno,” a song about letting go of dreams that don’t fit anymore. Pulled from the popular Blog Spot, Wildy’s World, “The absolute highlight of this album is Reno, the duet with Nickel Creek’s Sara Watkins. This is one of the most traditional country sounding songs on the album, and Woodard’s voice works with Watkins’ so well you’d think they’ve been singing together for years.” Grammy-winner Watkins, whose fiddle appears on several tracks, also lends her voice to the ballad, while Fountains of Wayne’s Brian Young mans the drums.
Download.com observes that Alex’s “cool folk melancholy sounds especially fine next to gleaming country-pop guitars,” and Today’s Country Magazine says: “Woodard crafts [his lyrics] in a way that delivers the stories perfectly.”
Look for Woodard to appear in your town on his popular “House Concert Tour” where he is playing in local fans homes.
Listen & Download: Reno
Official Site: Alex Woodard
MySpace Page: Alex Woodard