As its name suggests, Wood & Wire is a young acoustic band with a love for pure music played well. In 2011, the group exploded onto Austin’s bluegrass and old-time-music scene while quickly gaining a national fan base through appearances at notable festivals and venues like Old Settlers Music Festival, Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, Austin City Limits Music Festival, and the IBMA World of Bluegrass. It was icing on the cake, then, when they also garnered a last-minute appearance onstage at The Telluride Bluegrass Festival.
In 2013, Wood & Wire opened for Yonder Mountain String Band and released a self-titled debut album to much acclaim. In 2014, the group continued gaining momentum, touring heavily and working on a follow-up album set for release February 3, 2015.
A culmination of distinct musical personalities, the band’s influences range from Led Zeppelin to Doc Watson – and everything in between. “We’re from all over the country,” says Bassist Dom Fisher, describing the resulting sound as “strongly rooted in traditional bluegrass, with elements of progressive grass such as modern harmony and song forms.”
Fisher, a New York native with a degree in Jazz Studies (Double Bass) from Ithaca College, formed the group along with Guitarist Tony Kamel, whose rich, textured vocals provide lead for the group. In 2012, the two added banjoist Trevor Smith, which, says Fisher, “really put us on a different level.”
Smith, who had been playing music with Fisher, Kamel and other local musicians at a weekly bluegrass jam at Austin’s Flipnotics, actually grew up playing classical piano. After attending his first bluegrass festival, he picked up his main instrument, the banjo. “I was perplexed by the sound of it, and I had to figure it out,” says Smith, who later added guitar and mandolin to his talents.
Wood & Wire rounded out the quartet last May with the addition of mandolinist Billy Bright, a veteran player who has worked with legendary artists Peter Rowan, Tony Rice, and Vassar Clements. A Berklee College of Music attendee, Bright adorns the music with his unique style bred from influences like Matt Mundy, David Grisman, Mike Compton and “every other mandolinist I’ve ever seen or heard.”
For its second album, The Coast, Wood & Wire returned to J Studios in Nashville to work with Grammy-nominated engineer and producer, Erick Jaskowiak. “He is an amazing guy, chock full of positive vibes and so good at what he does,” says Kamel. A coming-of-age collection of original songs with a coastal theme, the album builds on the band’s debut, entertaining fans while drawing back the curtain on members’ substantial musical chops.
In the studio and on the stage, Wood & Wire continues to share its passion for pure music through heartfelt performances across the country.