Best Of The Batch: Alex Woodard
Up With The Sun
Artist: Alex Woodard
Title: Up With The Sun
Alex Woodard is back with a strong follow up to Mile High. Two years later, Up With The Sun finds Woodard in good voice once again with crisp and enlightening folk-pop-Americana.
The CD is comprised of 13 tracks that are consistently appealing musically and lyrically. Most of the tracks come filled up with jingly guitars, rootsy dobros and mandolins, and an appropriate rhythm section that seems to fit like a glove for each individual track. You get the occasional rocker like “Yellow Circle Sun” that really gets your blood pumping, but primarily this music will appeal to the roots alternative listeners in the Dave Matthews mold. Woodard comes out strong and his solid backing musicians are a key dynamic in helping to make this album the success it is.
As I recall the last outing, it does not compare musically, and that is a good thing. It is nice to hear something different. An artist needs to explore dissimilar directions with each successive album. At least from my perspective that is what makes it so exciting and enjoyable to hear. Lyrically it is as straightforward as it gets. The stories revolve around relationships between two people. “Lights” has some wonderful phrasing in it: “Like the back porch stairs/breathing in this summer night/I promise to be there/in fields of candlelight.” It sounds like the whisperings of a lover promising that they will always be there for their soul mate.
With the exception of the hidden untitled track that closes out the album, this is the kind of warm and introspective music and lyrical content I have come to expect from Woodard. Alex sounded like he needed to clear his throat and he was out of key. I thought that was a bit out of the ordinary after hearing how strong the rest of the album is. The curtain closer is one of those extra tracks that needed reevaluation before including it with this otherwise superb effort. The man is human, and that is encouraging in a world of people that are constantly trying to be something they are not. One thing you can count on with Alex Woodard, you get all of him, 100% Alex-good, bad, or indifferent.
01. Open Road (2:50)
02. Could Have Been (4:06)
03. Lift (3:37)
04. Sweet Peace (when i think of you) (3:32)
05. Ten Summers Later (3:33)
06. Way Down There (2:34)
07. Adelaide (3:48)
08. Yellow Circle Sun (3:06)
09. I Saw You Here (2:56)
10. Lights (4:06)
11. I Thought I'd Be There By Now (3:17)
12. Morning (2:21)
13. Untitled "Hidden Song"
Alex Woodard - vocals, guitars, piano, organ, percussion
John Would - guitars, lap steel, dobro, bass, piano, keyboards,
mandolin, accordion, percussion
Michael Kinkade - drums and percussion
Ike Marr - mandolin, viola, banjo, background vocals
Phil Hurley - guitars
Amy Wood - drums
Joe Bass - bass
Brian Young - drums
Louis Caverly - violin
Shannon Moore - background vocals
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