THE WOOD BROTHERS return to grace us with “One Drop Of Truth” in a time when we’re desperately thirsty for it. Brevard and Charlotte tour dates in April!

This just in: The Wood Brothers new tour will bring them to North Carolina in April, with shows at the Songsmith Gathering in Brevard and Tuck Fest in Charlotte. Click here for show info.

The cover of The Wood Brothers’ 2015 album Paradise showed a donkey with a helmet-mounted carrot dangling over its head—the thing we all want but can never quite reach. The cover of the Americana trio’s new album, One Drop of Truth, shows a woman sinking into water, leaving her breath in bubbles as she falls—the “drop” you asked for that turned out to be a deluge.

The harmonies of hope and dread run through One Drop of Truth, the sixth album by The Wood Brothers—ex-King Johnson guitarist Oliver Wood; his bassist brother Chris Wood of Medeski, Martin & Wood; and multi-instrumentalist Jano Rix—on Thirty Tigers Records. Small drops become big twisters and batter beleaguered towns; levees strain with the swell; nerves fray and nature creeps up on manicured digital happiness. “All of my wisdom,” sings Oliver Wood on “Happiness Jones,” “came from all the toughest days / I never learned a thing bein’ happy.”

Album opener “River Takes the Town” was inspired by actual weather, but the suspense in the lyrics echoes the tension that’s been gripping the U.S. every day for a couple of years now. “I was writing literally at first, about how scary it must be when people lose power and communication with those they love,” said Oliver. “But then the lyrics became a metaphor for something more interpersonal. And by the end of this summer, it seemed to take on new meaning yet again.” If bliss is to be questioned, though, freedom certainly isn’t, and The Wood Brothers’ music has rarely seemed freer. One Drop of Truth was self-produced and recorded, but the trio took their time, spreading the sessions out over much of 2017 and enlisting four different mixing engineers to come up with divergent sounds and flavors. “River Takes the Town,” with its delicate acoustic blues intro and swelling gospel crescendo, immediately delivers the Woods’ unique panoramic patchwork of folk, jazz, country and rock music.

Whereas previous outings by The Wood Brothers have often followed a conceptual and sonic through-line, ‘One Drop of Truth’ dives headfirst into a deep wellspring of sounds, styles and recording approaches, treating each song as if it were its own short film. The plaintive, country-folk of “River Takes the Town” gives way to the The Band-esque Americana soul of “Happiness Jones.” The stream of consciousness ballad “Strange As It Seems” floats on a cloud of ethereal beauty, standing in stark contrast to “Sky High”—a Saturday night barnburner built upon stinging slide guitar funk. “Seasick Emotions” is rife with emotional turmoil, yet “Sparkling Wine is jaunty and carefree. The end result is undeniably The Wood Brothers’ most dynamic recording to date.

“Often, when you’re making an album in the traditional way, there will be a unifying concept, whether that be in the approach to the music stylistically or in terms of the overall narrative lyrically. And even though there are some themes that revealed themselves later, this one is all over the place,” explains Oliver Wood. “What I really love about this record is that each one of these songs has its own little world. There are diverse sounds and vibes from one track to the next.”