Wooden Wand releases Young God debut in October

James Jackson Toth, AKA Wooden Wand is your fearless friend, the stumbling
guy that goes out and gets himself into some incredibly fucked-up
situations but comes out shining and lives to tell you all about it,
entertaining you safely and immensely. You should be grateful. His songs
are beautiful, indisputably, both musically and lyrically, and they’ll
give you joy if you listen to them. In my view, he’s a great American
songwriter in full bloom.

Most likely you’ll think that’s a preposterous claim, and I won’t blame
you, but you’ll be totally, completely, and unforgivably wrong to think
so. James is a natural. To me it’s obvious he’s animated with the same
spirit that’s moved through Willie, Waylon, Merle, and Hank. Not to say he
sounds like them, but his songs unfurl with a similar casual authority.
There’s no space between who he is and the work he does—never without a
guitar, and always writing or listening to/seeking out new music. He’s
inhabited. If there were justice in this world, which there isn’t, he’d be
on tour right now with Willie Nelson as an honored guest. He’s got that
picaresque quality that Dylan had in his heyday, wherein the shambolic
narrator undergoes various travails and epiphanies—harrowing, bleak and
darkly comical—in the course of a narrative, then leaves you mystified,
both smiling and sad.

I laugh out loud when I hear some of the lines in these songs, they’re
just so immediate and vivid. The pathos sometimes can leave you, frankly,
drained, but the language and the singing is effortless and without loaded
portent—it goes down smooth. He’s got a million “zingers,” as he calls
them—the sort of concise one- or two-line descriptions that set up the
atmosphere for a song instantly. Really, if Nashville were a place where
one could peddle great songs anymore, James would be the king of the
place. He’s a passionate singer and guitar player and inhabits the songs
as he performs them with straightforward, unpretentious, and confident
gravitas. I’ve been listening to this record over and over for the last
several months—we went through dozens of equally compelling songs before
choosing the line up of tracks—and the more I listen, the more honored I
am to be associated with James Jackson Toth.

James has previously released records with Kill Rock Stars and Thurston
Moore’s Ecstatic Peace label; Lee Renaldo produced one of them. He also
had a sad slide with Ryko Records. When I heard the latter record I could
not believe how good it was and I was pissed off and saddened that it did
not do right by James. My humble hope here now is that his music will
reach people in a direct and clear and powerful way, because the world
needs more truth and passion, and James most definitely supplies it. These
songs are a flat-out pleasure to listen to, and each one brings further
rewards on repeated listening.

Last time I talked to James, he was laying floors down in Murfreesboro,
TN. He is not a hipster, that is for sure, and God bless him. The songs
are literate, and there’s a painful irony in some of them, but the level
of commitment and sweet passion is rare, and born of hard earned
experience. Listen to his music! – Thanks, Michael Gira – Young God
Records

1.Sleepwalking After Midnight (4:04) 2.The Mountain (4:10) 3. Servant To
Blues (2:50)
4. Bobby (3:49) 5. I Made You (3:45) 6. Death Seat (3:28) 7. I Wanna Make
A Difference (2:23) 8. Ms Mowse (3:49) 9. Until Wrong Looks Right (3:28)
10. Hotel Bar ( 3:45) 11. The Arc (2:03) 12. Tiny Confessions (4:53)

Musicians include members of Glossary, Lambchop, Silver Jews, Mercury Rev,
Fire on Fire/Big Blood

james jackson toth: acoustic guitar + electric guitar + mandolin + vocals;
brian lowery: pedal steel + dobro + organ + electric piano + vocals;
william tyler: electric guitar; grasshopper: acoustic and electric
mandolin + acoustic piano; dm seidel: acoustic piano + electric bass +
electric guitar; joey kneiser: electric guitar + acoustic guitar; bingham
barnes: electric bass; spencer duncan: upright bass; casey kaufman: cello;
andrew mosiman: fiddle; caleb mulkerin: electric guitar + vocals; colleen
kinsella: vocals; kerry kennedy: vocals; siobhan duffy gira: vocals; tyler
coppage: drums + percussion; kenny siegal – theramin, mandolin, additional
percussion.

Produced by M. Gira. Recorded by Joey Kneiser and Stephen Goose Trageser
at the Haunted Mansion, Murfreesboro, TN., January 2-10, 2010 and Kenny
Siegal at Old Soul Studios, Catskill, NY, January 16-17, 2010. Mixed by M.
Gira and Kevin McMahon at Marcata Studio, Gardiner, NY, June 2010.

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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