New "What's In My Bag?" Episode with Wooden Wand

Posted by Amoebite, December 27, 2017 03:14pm | Post a Comment

Wooden Wand at Amoeba Hollywood

"I'll probably take some guff for this," predicted singer/songwriter Wooden Wand (aka James Toth) as he pulled out Windham Hill: The First Ten Years from his Amoeba shopping bag. He went on to explain how he gets into arguments with other guitarists about the mostly acoustic, instrumental music label, considered by many to be an early proponent of "new age" music. "I think William Ackerman and Alex de Grassi made some incredible, incredible guitar records. In some ways every bit the equal - obviously very different - but every bit the equal of Robbie Basho and Fahey's early records." What was not up for debate was Toth's extensive music knowledge, as he went shopping for a wide range of genres, happily giving his personal take on each record in our latest What's In My Bag? episode.

Wooden Wand Clipper ShipFreak folk artist James Jackson Toth, better known as Wooden Wand or sometimes just WAND, first made his name as a member of the early and mid-'00s era New Weird America scene of psych, folk, and indie artists. Since then he has continued to evolve and experiment as an artist, dabbling in outlaw country, free jazz, acid folk, noise rock, and Americana-influenced rock 'n' roll. The prolific Toth has put out an eclectic mix of self-released singles, CD-Rs, cassettes, compilation albums and more traditional studio albums.

Wooden Wand first began attracting attention due to his collaborations with experimental rockers The Vanishing Voice. He has also worked with cult bands like Castanets, The Blood Group, and The Briarwood Virgins. His work has been released on Young God, Ecstatic Peace!, Kill Rock Stars, and Rykodisc. "Mexican Coke," the debut single from Wooden Wand's 2017 LP Clipper Ship was featured on NPR's All Songs Considered.

Toth managed to hit almost every section at Amoeba Hollywood, including jazz, new age, rock, and blues. Holding up "one of the greatest blues records every made," Hoodoo Man Blues by Junior Wells' Chicago Blues Band, which features ?an uncredited Buddy Guy on guitar, Toth explains, "They kinda just put these guys together, and I don't think anybody really knew how explosive and how amazing this was gonna be." He was also curious about the CD's bonus "studio chatter" tracks, saying wryly, "we'll be jamming some studio chatter on the road."

Even though Talking Heads was never a huge band for him, Toth was looking forward to a particular 2CD edition of The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads, which a friend recommended to him. "He's into a lot of great Afro-beat stuff and he knows guitar," Toth vouched. He also goes on to reveal his appreciation for the compact disc and why he's still such a fan of the format.

But what, in James Toth's opinion, was the "last, truly great year" for The Grateful Dead? And which independent record label has he been keeping up with since college? You'll have to watch the video below to find out!

Wooden Wand - What's In My Bag?
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Windham Hill (1), Wooden Wand (2), James Toth (1), William Ackerman (1), Alex De Grassi (1), Robbie Basho (3), John Fahey (6), Hoodoo Man Blues (1), Junior Wells' Chicago Blues Band (1), Junior Wells (1), Buddy Guy (1), Talking Heads (16), The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads (1), Grateful Dead (20), Amoeba Hollywood (867), What's In My Bag? (285)