In his latest EP San Francisco, Seth Wood brings his gospel background to picnic with his own folk-inspired style, where audiences can feast on words that he has been carefully harvesting for months.
Ripe and ready for listening, this 2013 release, produced by Tom Laune, echoes of a season where Wood wrestled extensively with his dreams and impending realities. When friend DJ Lipscomb suggested he begin a Kickstarter campaign to fund the EP, Wood consenting under one condition: “If it doesn’t happen, this is the world signaling for me to not do music anymore.”
Six weeks of madness ensued where Wood lived on a haggard diet of social media, sharing, promoting, and praying, all of which paid off when he exceeded his goal of $7,000.
But, behind this wonderful moment was buried a great many more moments that seemingly lacked any “wonderfulness.”
Music in itself has an inexplicably powerful way of moving people, but what first moved Wood to music was the fatal car accident of a friend who lost her life in high school. He was asked to perform in her memory, an event which manifested early encouragement that this is what he was meant to do. After graduating, he jumped right into college at Middle TN State University to pursue a career in music. But, he grew increasingly discouraged after nothing seemed to be taking shape, so he moved to France to spend a year studying and exploring new opportunities.
Having already tried to stir up the waters of the music industry and finding, instead of a dynamic river a still, shallow lake, he jumped into a new pool entirely: the art of film. He nearly lost himself within the depths of creating, experiencing, and learning – but this ultimately led to him to finding himself. Nothing was settled in his spirit, he told me, without music – the inner musician was ever beckoning. So on a normal day he made another pivotal decision, acquiescing to the voice of fate by buying a guitar.
“When I heard Damien rice in Europe I thought, now there’s a guy just playing the guitar and singing. He’s doing everything with his soul and a couple of chords. I can do that.”
Between simple chords and choppy lyrics, he began to grow again.
Moving back to Nashville in 2007, the winds began to shift once more. Wood settled himself into odd jobs to support his composing and performing, welcomed into music city first by new friend Brooke Waggoner, followed by power couple-duo Elenowen and many more. “Building good relationships is key,” suggested Wood.
Discouragement returned, however, after a long bout of playing shows and leading to nothing further. So he did what anyone would do when feeling disconnected between seasons of life – he moved back home to Franklin.
While trying to regain a sense of himself and his music, Wood again tried to venture into other areas of art. Photography became a new love, a side hobby he maintains today.
Finding expression through other modes of creativity was only a step in the right direction for Wood, however. “It wasn’t clicking with my soul – didn’t make much sense for me to try all of that.” His best moments are ever in crafting lyrics, juggling chords, sculpting forms that others can relate to out of giant blobs of common emotions and experiences.
Once he let go, running into the winds that had driven him hither and thither before, he found his way to a place where he now knows that, beyond the inconsistency of the industry, this is where he calling lays.
Traveling showed him how big the world is and how music can impact people around the globe, “You don’t even have to understand what’s being said, just immerse yourself in it. It can move you even in a different language.”