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Al Wood and the Woodsmen

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Al Wood and the Woodsmen

Al Wood is a blues musician known for high energy shows and cool throwback orig. tunes as frontman for Al Wood and the Woodsmen


Al Wood is a multi-talented performer and songwriter with a deep reverence for the blues and traditionally-based roots music. Born in Sault Ste. Marie (the Soo), Ontario, Al’s father first taught him how to pick out old country tunes on the harmonica. Now a virtuoso harmonica player, talented guitar stylist, and golden-throated singer, Al lives in Ottawa and Highway 17 is more than a song; it’s a road well-traveled.

Al has been playing and performing for over twenty years in countless contexts. As a teenager in the Soo he cut his teeth playing in blues bands to a crowd plugged into punk and “alternative” music at the time. This might explain how and why Al throws his whole heart and soul into every performance with the same exuberance and showmanship whether for a crowd of two or two hundred.

Out of this scene was born the Rhythm Rats, boys from the Soo with a passion for the blues, who took their energetic spin on the genre to the big city, Montreal, in 1992. The band played tirelessly in every venue imaginable to everyone imaginable. Al and Lindsay Pugh remain musical collaborators to this day (Lindsay is a key cog in the Mood Swingin’ Blues wheel) and the others remain among Al’s great friends. The five years in Montreal were something else. Hellish at times with unthinkable variables constantly surfacing and life lessons learned that later spilled onto blank sheets as songs. Over the five years, life happened to the young rats in different ways and it eventually became clear that it was time to move on. It was a good run and the band grew up quickly. When performing together today, Al and Lindsay continue to dip into the old Rhythm Rats repertoire - not just for old times’ sake but because they still love playing the stuff.

After the Rhythm Rats, Red Wood Central (RWC) formed when Al met Michelle “Red” April in the mid-90’s. Michelle’s clear and often haunting voice and unfailing rhythm on guitar blended naturally with Al’s deep, rich voice and melodic harmonica and guitar to create a unique acoustic sound supported by strong collaborative song-writing. The sound is roots and blues oriented with a country influence and a flare of Django-inspired zeal or darker Spanish elements. There are two CD’s out there: Red Wood Central (self-titled 1999) and Red Wood Central “Behind the Times” 2002. RWC has relaxed the extent of live performance but they still hit stage from time to time and may one day, re-emerge with a new arsenal of tunes.

The Band

Al Wood
Lindsay Pugh
Frank Deresti
Matt Sobb
Cliff Alloy
Jason Jaknunas
Marty Sobb
Simon Meilleur
Chris Breitner
Ed Young