Chris Wood started out as a choirboy and much of his music bears the influence of those years spent with the likes of Bach, Handel, Gibbons and Boyce: he describes the album Handmade Life as “church music with drums.”
Self-taught on guitar and violin, he is a lifelong autodidact — and his independent streak shines through in his composition and studio work. Always direct and unafraid to speak his mind, his song writing has been praised for its surgical clarity. His work is typified by his trust in the space music can create and a gift for lyrical understatement. He cites his major influence as “Anon”.
Throughout his career independence has been balanced by collaboration. The artists he has worked with include Billy Bragg, Andy Gangadeen, Andy Cutting, Jean François Vrod and Hugh Lupton (Wood and Lupton’s “One in a Million” won Best Original Song at the BBC 2 Folk Awards in 2006). Recently he has worked alongside Martin and Eliza Carthy and others in The Imagined Village: “Cold Haily Rainy Night”, performed by Wood and Eliza Carthy, took the award for Best Traditional Song at the Folk Awards in 2008.
He set up R.U.F Records in 1992 and this label continues to carry his catalogue. He also founded The English Acoustic Collective, a movable feast of musicians, writers, photographers and choreographers who look to England’s indigenous arts as their inspiration.
His first solo album, The Lark Descending, was released in 2006 to wide acclaim. “A lyrical, pensive album … possessed of a timeless quality.”
— The Observer Music Monthly
The title stands Vaughn Williams’ English icon on its head — Wood’s songs make no apology for celebrating what he has called the “unofficial” history of the English people.
In 2009 his album, Trespasser, took on the idea of enclosure: spiritual, intellectual, cultural and physical. Billy Bragg writing in The Independent said “Come Down Jehovah, is a measured statement of atheism that puts Dawkins to shame!” Wood went on to receive “Album of The Year” and “Singer of the Year” from BBC Radio Two.
He has been more reticent about the genesis of Handmade Life — but the material clearly stems from a desire to explore a less human-centered world, and a world more engaged with the actual than the virtual.
“It’s all the little things are what we find that matter now that the circus has left town”.
His recordings include:
* Chris Wood & Andy Cutting – RUF Records RUFCD01
* Lisa (Wood & Cutting) – RUF Records RUFCD02
* Live at Sidmouth (Wood & Cutting) – RUF Records RUFCD03
* Lusignac (Wood & Cutting) – RUF Records RUFCD04
* Wood, Wilson, Carthy – RUF Records RUFCD05
* Crossing (with Jean-François Vrod) – RUF Records RUFCD06
* Half as happy as we (Two Duos Quartet) – RUF Records RUFCD07
* Knock John (Wood & Cutting) – RUF Records RUFCD08
* Ghosts (English Acoustic Collective) – RUF Records RUFCD09
* The Lark Descending (solo) – RUF Records RUFCD10
* The Imagined Village (various artists) (2007) – Real World
* Trespasser (solo) – RUF Records RUFCD11
Upcoming tour dates
No shows booked at the moment.