Photo by John F. Russell
Tom Wood, and his dog Halle, hangs out in the front yard of his Fairview Home. Wood is releasing his first album after decades of performing. Wood, who has lived in Steamboat Springs since the early 1970s, is a regular local performer. He will perform with Sound Scoundrels at 8:30 p.m. today at Hahn’s Peak Cafe.
- Saturday, June 4, 2011, 8:30 p.m.
- Hahn's Peak Roadhouse, 60880 County Road 129, Hahn's Peak, CO
Steamboat Springs Almost three decades ago, musician Tom Wood was sitting in the International House of Pancakes in Denver at 6:30 a.m., unable to sleep the night before.
Life as an aspiring rock star afforded no rest, and it was not a lifestyle he was cut out for.
Eavesdropping on a conversation nearby, Wood heard a preteen girl telling her grandmother that no boys would like her because she wasn’t beautiful. The elderly woman, near tears, explained to her granddaughter that the right boy would see that she had a beautiful heart.
Then and there, Wood began outlining what would become the song “Beauty-Heart,” one of 11 tracks on his recently completed debut solo album. Wood performs with the Sound Scoundrels at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at Hahn’s Peak Cafe in North Routt County.
A far cry from his days on the road with various cover bands, Wood’s album is a deeply personal exploration in acoustic folk rock, rooted in the charmed life he lives in Steamboat Springs and the connection he shares with North Routt through his ski cabin in Hahn’s Peak.
“It was really beautiful,” he said about the feeling he got when he saw the finished product. “It was a transformation. Before, I thought I was in the music business. But it wasn’t until I did this album and handed it to people … I was actually producing music, it was the real thing.
“I’m just discovering now how special it is, that it really makes people happy and gives people joy. A lot of musicians take that for granted.”
“North of Farwell” was recorded at First String Music during the past three years with Steve Boynton and features several local musicians.
The album, available for purchase at All That Jazz, features tracks written throughout three decades; songs that were just lying in wait for Wood’s musical evolution to take him down this road of personal expression.
The songs are clearly inspired by local features, including the title track about Farwell, the mountain that separates North Routt from the rest of the county.
An easy local favorite will surely be “Skiing,” and “Rocky Mountain Time” harks back to a John Denver-esque appreciation for the culture of the mountain lifestyle.
Wood, who runs a log home building business, sings about his travels across the world and his love of the outdoors and the hiking, biking, skiing and kayaking that the Routt lifestyle affords him.
Boynton, who also plays guitar and harmonica on the album, said the songs do exactly what good acoustic music should do: remind him of the songwriter.
“It’s a perfect reflection of Tom,” Boynton said. “That’s what any recording project or artistic endeavor should be.”
He called Wood a “writing machine” and said that as soon as he sent off the first album for duplication, he already was scheduling recording sessions for the next one.
“Tom is a 100 percent committed as a songwriter and as a performer,” Boynton said. “He’s fearless in doing what he wants to do. He’s not so concerned about what other people might think.”
He is, however, concerned with what others feel, and it’s that motivation that has him enjoying playing and singing now more than he ever has before.
“It’s been transformed,” he said. “I’m really motivated to touch people with music and say something.”
Once a member of cover band Blissful Mayhem, Wood recently launched a new project called Sound Scoundrels with vocalist Kate Park, who sang on the album.
And he already has two tracks in working progress for his next album. The songs adhere to his new sense of musical introspection by paying homage to the town of Steamboat and Colorado sunsets.
“I feel like I’m touching people rather than entertaining them or making them drink beer,” he said.
To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@SteamboatToday.com