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Wooden Wand

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Says Swans frontman and head of Young God Records Michael Gira, James Jackson Toth’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.”

Wooden Wand, a.k.a. singer-songwriter James Jackson Toth, has released material under such collectives as Wooden Wand & the Vanishing Voice, Wooden Wand & the Sky High Band, and Wooden Wand & the Briarwood Virgins. Toth’s style has drawn on a variety of both conventional and experimental folk, country and rock influences, including psych folk, acid folk, free folk, and indie. The heavily Neil Young and Crazy Horse-influenced “Briarwood,” released in November 2011, is perhaps Toth’s most lyrically accessible record to date.

“Briarwood” finds the New York native mining the remarkably fertile music scene in Birmingham, Alabama, including two members of early oughts indie darlings Verbena—Les Nuby, also the producer of “Briarwood,” and Duquette Johnston—members of Plate Six, Through the Sparks, and Delicate Cutters. Recent Wooden Wand tours have featured a stripped-down version of the full band, including Janet Simpson-Templin, who has also recorded with Jeffrey Lewis.

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