Q&A with veteran singer and guitarist Tim Woods, a long and storied journey that continues to write new chapters

"The blues can be interpreted in many ways worldwide. It should never be limited to one genre."

Tim Woods: Sutra of Sacred Ground

Veteran singer and guitarist Tim Woods released the new full-length album, "Vortex" (2020), produced by Bobby Lee Rodgers and features special guests including legendary Paul Hornsby, Derek Woods & Ryan Woods (Tim's two sons), and Bobby Lee Rodgers. Inspired by his recent visit to the natural wonders of Sedona, Arizona he penned this new collection, “Vortex.” The ten original tracks explore the idea that ‘vortices’ are swirling centers of energy, conducive to healing, meditation and self-exploration located in places where the earth seems especially alive with energy. Woods channels this notion into the melodic structures and lyrical subject matter to create a thought-provoking improvisational jam band rock ‘n’ roll meets psychedelic blues cantata. A lifetime of influences has shaped a career of playing and songwriting, and today are at the heart of Tim Woods' sound. For more than three decades, singer and guitarist Tim Woods' career has taken him on a long and storied journey that continues to write new chapters every year.                           (Tim Woods / Photo by David Baldinger)

Originally from Western Pennsylvania – where he remains a fixture of the music scene – Tim grew up in a virtual "melting pot" of music. Having older brothers expose him to a wide array of styles, including jazz, blues, bluegrass and rock, Tim's appreciation for all music took root at an early age.  During his formative years, this admiration grew into a deep love of the blues of Willie Dixon, Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters. With a repertoire of more than 200 songs, Tim performs regionally and nationally in various configurations, including solo shows, trios and his five-piece band, The Tim Woods Band. He also takes great family pride in performing regularly as part of The Woods Family Band with his two sons, Derek and Ryan, both accomplished artists in their own right. Tim strongly believes in musicians supporting other musicians and cherishes the moments that he shares on stage with other artists and friends.

Interview by Michael Limnios                Tim Woods, 2018 Interview @ blues.gr

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

I always want to be a good listener as well as a player. I love so many genres of music, I am constantly soaking it in. There are so many new doors to open and I always want to explore new areas of my music.

Where does your creative drive come from? What do you love most about the act of writing lyrics and music?

My songs go through several processes. I start with a title and outline the song. Then I hit the road and while driving I develop more ideas while recording them on my phone. When in my hotel, I set up my guitar and amp put on headphones and rock out while continuing to write. When I get to the studio, I lay the idea/outline to the producer and that starts the recording process. This seems to work for me. I love writing songs. I keep trying to develop that skill.

Do you consider the blues a specific music genre and artistic movement or do you think it’s a state of mind?

The blues can be interpreted in many ways worldwide. It should never be limited to one genre.

How do you describe "Vortex" sound and songbook? What touched (emotionally) you from album's sessions?                    (Tim Woods / Photo by Derek Woods)

I really enjoyed recording "Vortex". I love the process of working in the studio. Producer Bobby Lee Rodgers was able to get an incredible sound. It’s always an honor to work with him. I enjoyed adding my 2 sons Derek and Ryan as well as Legendary Producer, musician Paul Hornsby to the project. It's an incredible feeling when a song is born and developed. That inspires me.

"I always want to be a good listener as well as a player. I love so many genres of music, I am constantly soaking it in. There are so many new doors to open and I always want to explore new areas of my music."

How do you want your songs to affect people? Do you have a dream project you'd most like to accomplish?

I would love for people to identify with my songs, my message so far is about love, humor, exploring the world and experiencing nature. My dream project is to gather some of my musician friends over the years and make some big noise. I would also love to record a project with artists from several countries.

Are there any memories from Allen Batts, Big Jack Johnson, and Aaron Moore which you’d like to share with us?

My memory with Allen Batts is that he had so many great stories and is an incredible B3 organ player. Allen has played in many bands and has appeared on many music sessions. One funny thing about him is when I ask him where he was from he said Sardis I said so am I! The only difference being is that his from Sardis Mississippi and I’m from Sardis Pennsylvania. We laughed about that.

Big Jack Johnson- I loved working with him in Clarksdale Mississippi. Seeing him live in a club, I actually saw the music rise to a magical place. A story about the session with Big Jack was when I was driving to the studio his music suddenly came on the radio. I was floored. That’s the magic of the music that came from him.

Aaron Moore was a class act. I loved his piano playing -man he could "Boogie Woogie" Aaron showed up for the session in Chicago in a sharp suit and was so professional. He was in his 90s at the time. When I need my spirits lifted, I listen to Aaron Moore.

What would you say characterizes Pennsylvania blues scene in comparison to other US local scenes and circuits?

There are many great musician’s past and present in Pennsylvania. I have watched the blues scene grow over the years here. Many young people are getting on the bus. I think Pennsylvania musicians are inspired by different geographic areas such as Chicago, Appalachian Mountains and the great south. It doesn't matter where you are from, the real blues comes from the soul.

Tim Woods Music - Home

Tim Woods / Photo by David-Baldinger

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