On their official web site, the music of the Grace Woods Trio is described as what the collaboration of Ben Fold’s Five and Tori Amos writing a Broadway musical sung by Ella Fitzgerald would sound like. And if you’re left scratching your head at the idea of such a description, then giving the band a listen will provide you with a better understanding.
Strange comparisons aside, the Grace Woods Trio do create some truly unique music; a jazzy blend of quirky pop, instrumental atmospheres and distinct vocals. Their frontwoman, Grace Woods, has been writing her own songs for years, eventually taking them onstage at open-mics throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Just three years ago, on one such night in Berkeley, bassist Joe Hickey took notice of Woods’ performance and the two eventually formed a duo. It wasn’t long afterward that drummer Whitney Jacobson convinced Woods that their sound wouldn’t be complete without his talents too. And thus, the trio was formed.
Armed with a mutual passion for music and a realistic view of the how the business works, the band keeps themselves busy, regularly performing in and around the San Francisco bay area, booking gigs at coffeehouses, festivals, hotels, weddings and even the occasional farmer’s market. They aim to get their music out to as many venues as possible so that others can share in what this truly remarkable band has to offer.
Their full-length debut album, Metaphoreality, is a thirteen-song adventure showcasing the true sound of the Grace Woods Trio. Songs like ‘Paper Pillows,’ with its easy-going tempo that jumps to a sped-up whirl of lyrics or the jaunty ‘Keep Away,’ a snappy, head-bobbing number about an unwanted suitor, play like the perfect songs to cast in an off-Broadway musical. At first listen, these songs may seem bizarre and warped, but it doesn’t take long until you’ve seeped yourself into their cerebral world and find them irresistible.
Other selections may be prove more accessible, like ‘Content To Lie Awake,’ a groovy guitar-heavy track that nearly evokes the aura of Concrete Blonde, and ‘Rising Tear,’ a hushed, intimate song that simply paints a beautiful picture of an afternoon spent swimming in the lake.
There isn’t a band that comes to mind that I can easily compare to the Grace Woods Trio. They encapsulate a fugue of existing genres, but somehow manage to elicit one of their own.