Tara Nevins waited over a decade to release her second solo record, Wood and Stone. In the interim, Nevins traveled relentlessly with Donna the Buffalo, but her musical interest began as a child in the school orchestra, encouraged by her music and dance-loving parents. She often tells the tale of “sneaking” to play “Turkey in the Straw” during the downtime of orchestra class, but Nevins’ immersion in Old Time fiddle music came much later. While Tara studied Classical Violin, her roommate played on the side in an Old Time fiddle band, and after graduation, Nevins never played another Classical tune again.
From fiddle festivals and the Old Time music community, to immersion in Cajun and Creole music and the accordion, and a decade in an all-female string band (who backed her on a few tunes on this record), Nevins saturates her life with playing music. Wood and Stone is the result of a four year excursion to Huntsville, Alabama. Led there by love, and leaving there by choice, exposed thoughts and emotions that Nevins expressed by writing songs. The result is a record that is both personal and reflective, but not so introspective to have narrow appeal. Even without knowing the back story, Wood and Stone shows a very different side of Nevins than her previous solo release or even her work with Donna the Buffalo.
In the past, she’s played just for the sound, but having to shift her focus to being about the song and painting a picture with the record as a whole challenged Nevins creatively and personally. The songs are not “downers,” even though they are about relationships that have ended. Working with Larry Campbell at Levon Helm’s studio, Nevins was free to focus on instrumentation and song craft, while being filled with a mystic vibe and the energy of that hallowed venue. For someone as busy playing music with Donna the Buffalo and attending fiddlers’ festivals, Tara Nevins surprises fans even more by taking a clear road, with a distinct sound, in Wood and Stone, neither copying the band nor repeating her previous solo album.
Songs in Episode 1205 include:
- 3 songs from Wood and Stone
- a song written by Carole King but commonly sung by the Monkees, about life in the NYC suburbs
- Donna the Buffalo
- a tune that made Levon Helm a household name with The Band
- a song by The Band, produced by Larry Campbell, and recorded at Levon’s studio by My Morning Jacket
- one from Whitey Morgan and the 78’s produced by Larry Campbell
- a preview of Episode 1206 Mr. Isaac Allen
Check out the movie 20 Years After about a post-nuclear meltdown Alabama with Nevins’ arrangement of the jazz standard, “Stars Fell on Alabama,” commissioned for the film and on the Wood and Stone record.