Jon Wood,
One to Five
(Orange Sky, 2004)

One to Five, the latest release by UK guitarist/songwriter Jon Wood, is a glorious work of acoustic imagery and composition. His fingerpicking style touches a variety of formats that blend together and complement each other to perfection.

The liner notes explain the albums title as a reference to the number of musicians per track. Their contributions throughout this recording are moving and unforgettable. Each performance absolutely shines, speaking directly to the overall concept of the album set by Wood himself. One to Five contains 11 tracks, beginning with the opening tune "Slow Burn," a beautiful acoustic instrumental, highlighting the genius behind Wood's songwriting and musicianship as a guitar virtuoso. Wood travels up and down the fretboard, each note resonating a deep tone and texture you can almost feel. He's joined midway through by Eamon McLoughlin on violin, who adds depth to the imagery as both instruments mirror one another, changing tempo as if they're dancing.

"Horse Nails" is a country roots, folksy blues-style ballad, with lyricist Tobias on vocals. Phil Mills on lap steel guitar gives this tune its haunting sound and Old West flavor. Wood changes course with "It Means Everything to Me," a jazzy blues number with a great opening sax solo by Josie Owens. The highlight is Lenna Santamaria's vocal performance; her smooth, sultry vocals conjure up images of a smoke-filled nightclub. The crowd suddenly becomes hypnotized the moment she's up on stage, as her soulful voice slowly consumes the entire room, an enjoyable change of pace.

Another great track is "Maybe Girl," a contemporary acoustic pop-style tune you could easily find playing on the radio, like a frequently requested song with a Top 10 feel, it's got everything working here. David Jordan delivers a solid vocal performance, Linda Game adding her magic on violin and Jon Wood providing a steady acoustic beat.

One to Five is a genuine masterpiece, reaching deep down into a well of emotion and stirring the soul. There isn't a bad track to be found here, this is a well crafted, cohesive recording full of energy and spirit you'll listen to again and again. I highly recommend you check this out, it's definitely worth your time and attention.

- Rambles
written by Pamela L. Dow
published 1 January 2005

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