This week, Dan’s DJ pick is “Pilgrim” by The Wood Brothers! The American roots group consists of brothers Oliver and Chris as well as multi-instrumentalist Jano Rix. The brothers recall influential memories of their father performing songs around the campfire while their mother, a poet, seeded passions of storytelling. Despite their close upbringing, the brothers chose separate paths as they grew older. Eventually they reuinited after having pursued individual careers for fifteen years. The brothers played their first show together when Oliver sat in for a Medeski Martin & Wood set with his brother Chris in 2001. Soon after, they knew they needed a project of their own.
“Pilgrim” is the first single off of their eighth studio album, A Heart is a Hero. The buoyant, acoustically-centered track was recorded on a 16-track analog tape along with the rest of their anticipated record. The group says that recording analog brought a sense of newness to their creative process. These limitations associated with the method gave way to an intentionality and group presence that wasn’t there before. Similarly, the theme of the song is centered around slowing down and paying attention. “Pilgrim” entails someone on a spiritual mission who makes time to appreciate every glowing detail along the way.
Uniquely for this record, Chris spent most of his time living in Canada, far away from Oliver and Jano. He believes that the distance was another limitation that added something special to the record, making it different from all of the band’s previous works. The earthy yet energetic performance sonically reflects the track’s message and leans into the record’s identity. “Pilgrim” showcases their musicianship in a new light stripping down certain elements to highlight their core folk sound. Lyrically their heart shines, proclaiming the lyrics, “I better slow down ’cause a soul can’t travel that fast.” Their visceral songwriting and instrumental chemistry continue to breach genre borders.
Heart is a Hero is due April 14th via Honey Jar/ Thirty records. You can listen to the opening track, “Pilgrim” below.
Tune in to 100.1 FM or lightning100.com all week to hear “Pilgrim” by The Wood Brothers, Dan’s DJ Pick of the Week. Share your thoughts on the track by tagging #L100DJPicks on Twitter.