One of our fair city’s finest guitarists, Doug Wood cites bands such as the Who, King Crimson, Michael Hedges, Pat Metheny and Bela Fleck & the Flecktones as influences. A John Carroll University graduate, he formed the acoustic group Watts Gnu in 1989. After that band broke up, Wood has worked as a solo artist.
He’s announced a few live dates in the wake of the release of his latest album, The Road Home
. Recorded and engineered by the James Gang’s Dale Peters, the album features bassist Darren Frate and cellist Tara Hanish.
“Dale has worked with me since my Watts Gnu days,” Wood explains. “We released that one Watts Gnu album way back when and over the course of the years, I’ve developed a good friendship with him and enjoy working with him. You can throw things at him, and it doesn’t through for a loop. It’s nice to work someone like that. He has a good musical intelligence too. He’ll coach me through either using or not using a part. He doesn't make me feel nervous in the studio. He would make a good life coach.”
The disc features original compositions, and many of the instrumentals have common theme.
“I go to Colorado a lot on tour, and many of the tunes are inspired by my travels out west,” says Wood. “It’s about me coming back home, but it’s also about being on the road. The emotions are about finding home where I go. Even ‘Isabelle Dances’ was written on the road. It’s about my daughter, who’s now in her double digits. It’s about the emotion that goes with traveling and reaching the destinations in a spiritual sense and then going back home to your real home.”
Wood brings his touring show, Guys with Guitars, to the Bop Stop on Aug. 24. The band will also perform on Aug. 25 and 26 at the Stocker Arts Center in Elyria, and on Aug. 27 at Lakeside Chitaqua in Lakeside.
That band models its approach after the former Windham Hill Concerts format that featured several touring solo artists performing their own solo material and collaborating with each other on songs.
“Over the course of the many years I’ve been doing this, I like playing solo, but I like the excitement of playing with other musicians,” Wood says. “Darren [Frate] plays bass on the CD, and I can play some of the stuff he plays bass on. [Guitarist] Patrick Woods is a great musician. I just really like the excitement of a Guys With Guitars show.”