Wooden Wand – 'Blood Oaths of the New Blues'
By Jon Clark
James Jackson Toth - aka Wooden Wand - is on his third LP in two years. This latest shows how the prolific singer-songwriter has, over the course of a decade, made a full transition from psych-folk kook to grizzled country outlaw. It's a record rooted in the romanticised American Deep South that he and many of his contemporaries are attracted to: one offering a simple life of tradition, epic landscapes, whiskey-soaked benders and inevitable sore heads.
Toth's beautiful, raw brand of country folk ties the different strands of 'Blood Oaths' together nicely. A tale of wrongful execution sits easily in amongst a song about a blues festival and a tribute to experimental musician Jhonn Balance. However, the album's first half is long-winded, with an eleven-minute opener that feels both badly placed and lacking in focus. If this were cut to EP length, it would be fantastic. As it stands it is still a pleasurable, if self-indulgent, listen.