By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Synkkä Metsä
Folks understandably may not be familiar with Juli Wood and her group, aside from those who live in the Chicago area; she’s a regular performer there, but apparently doesn’t wander far from home. Well, this release is a gem, and Wood definitely deserves our attention.
Synkkä Metsä is one of the most relaxing and listenable releases I’ve heard in a long time. As with many folk tunes, the melodic lines are simple, yet beautiful; the arrangements swing quietly, tastefully and smoothly. Wood gets a subtle tone out of her instrument, and her supporting cast members are equally elegant.
The tunes are a varied mix of balladic and up-tempo melodies; all are explained briefly in Wood’s liner notes. You’ll want to listen to this disc again and again.