Press Enterprise - The D (March 5, 2004)
Press Enterprise- The D (November 21, 2003)
Desert Post Weekly
Desert Sun Shoots Gig
Woodshed Interview with Reviews Goodnight Irene
Behind the Woodshed by Robin Marie

Woodshed in "The D"
Woodshed in "The D"
Desert Post Weekly Promotes Biker Weekend Gig
Desert Sun Shoots Gig!
Recently, the Desert Sun came around and took pictures at an acoustic gig at The Wherehouse in Palm Springs. Check it out!
Woodshed Interview with!
     During the past 10 years, in the desert two hours east of Los Angeles, Woodshed’s distinctive feel-good sound has become a staple on the Inland Empire music scene.
     When Woodshed jams, it plays from the heart. James Danielson, Dean Oliveri, Rick Shelley, and Eric Turner launched the band in 1992 by performing in every bar that would host their electric blues-rock repertoire. Slowly, pleased audiences started a buzz, and Woodshed recorded a demo.
     Since then, the band has independently released three CDs. The first, Fires of Spring (1994), was intended to be the band’s second demo. However, a fruitful recording session encouraged the band to make it Woodshed’s first public release.
     Sales of Fires covered the production costs for the band’s second CD, Let it Roll, released in 1996. By then, the band had developed a following around Palm Springs, Riverside, and San Bernardino. Enthusiastic audiences inspired the third and current CD, Goodnight Irene, a recording of a December 1999 performance at Lake Alice Trading Co. in Riverside. sat down with Danielson (lead guitar, vocals), Shelley (rhythm guitar, vocals), Oliveri (bass) and Turner (drums). They treated us to an acoustic jam of a song called “Train,” a departure from their trademark electric sound. That was great! What a different sound for you guys ...

Woodshed: Thanks. That’s a little something that sort of wrote itself.

* The band played “Don’t Slip Away,” an unreleased gem you can find on live recordings available in Internet music-trading circles. (Woodshed encourages audiences to record and trade their live performances.) Has anything about the band changed since Let it Roll?

Woodshed: The crowds are bigger -- mostly because of the Web site and people knowing that we’re out here playing. And dancing has become more of a thing. People are getting more into the music [and] we feed off the interaction. You like to play music festivals. Who would you like to perform with?

Woodshed: (James) Bands like Blues Traveler, Phish, and Rusted Root. But if you ask each of us, you’ll get a different answer. There seems to be a little Blues Traveler influence on Goodnight Irene.

Woodshed: This CD captures us closer than anything has so far, and that’s because they recorded us on a night when they just took everything. We had everything. And then we went back and mixed down what we thought was realistic. But it was just us playing that night -- no overdubs, no nothing. You prefer live performance to studio recording?

Woodshed: I think so. Yes, unless there’s, you know, a really high-priced producer that’s gonna give you good input -- you know, a real guy. [Otherwise,] we’re a live band. You guys have tightened significantly as a band…

Woodshed: Yeah. We’ve played a million times and we’ll play a million more, but playing the right venue helps. It improves the band’s sound, and the quality of the music is key. If the band sounds good and the fans get into it, everything comes together. It’s like that on Goodnight Irene. There’s an energy that was captured that night because the people were into it. The more your fans are having a good time, the more you can extend yourself and feel confident no matter what happens -- even if you crash and burn. (Laughs) That makes the playing more enjoyable for us. What is the significance of the title Goodnight Irene?

Woodshed: Irene was the mother of a close friend. She passed away and we dedicated the performance to her. It was just the timing … and you know, it’s not that “Goodnight Irene.” People look at the CD and say, “Hey that song’s not even on here.” (Laughs) What is your favorite song on the CD?

Woodshed: (Eric) I like “Walk on the Water.” I get a drum solo in that one! (Rick) For me, it depends on the night. Sometimes I like the way the singing sounds; sometimes I like the guitar. I think there are songs that are consistently good. (James) “Step to it Once” is consistently good, it always clicks. What does your audience request most often?

Woodshed: “Freebird!” (Laughs) There’s always someone who wants “Freebird” or some other cover. That raises an interesting point -- you guys have a few tunes that you like to cover (“Walk on the Water,” “Turn On Your Love Light,” “We All Wanna Boogie” and “Franklin’s Tower”), and have really made them your own. Do you find yourselves being compared to other jam bands and their songs?

Woodshed: We were having this discussion the other day… the reason, we think, that we get compared to the bands like the Allman Brothers, the Grateful Dead and Phish, is because we were listening to the same stuff they were listening to. We’re not listening to them, so we’re stumbling upon the same stuff that they did and our influence comes from a similar place. So, what bands are you’re listening to these days?

Woodshed: Phish, Rusted Root, String Cheese, Blues Traveler. (Eric) Right on. I love the new Blues Traveler and how they’ve supported the new members, and it’s really opened them up to be even more of a jam band than they already were, they’re not so busy, it’s groovin’! Speaking of groovin’, do you want to do another song?

* The band played a song called, “Shady Grove,” some traditional Blue Grass and Steve Earle’s “The Galway Girl.” Unbelievable, that was great…

Woodshed: You guys are the only ones that have ever heard us like this! We don’t usually play acoustic. You should, you guys sound great unplugged! So what are your goals – musically, professionally or otherwise?

Woodshed: No matter what happens, Woodshed will keep playing shows. We’ll be eighty years old and we’ll still play shows, but we’re ready to make a jump to the next level. Bigger audiences at better venues. The right record deal would be great, but record deal or not, we’ll continue to play. And as a band we can put out a quality CD that’s listenable, so we have no problems there.

* We waxed philosophical about the benefits and trappings of major label deals, the future of the band, and the latest fast food commercial campaign. Woodshed is a laid back bunch of guys with good hearts and values, who happen to jam like nobody’s business. Check them out in Southern California, and on the web. Reviews Goodnight Irene
"Goodnight Irene" - Woodshed
review by Rob Kallick

At first listen to "Goodnight Irene" you might think the band you're hearing is called Woodstock and not Woodshed. Aside from flowing seamlessly into a few classic Dead tunes (Lovelight, Franklin's Tower) that places their influences clearly on the table, Woodshed also have the same relaxed and free-flowing vibe about them that made the jam-band kings, and that time period, so special. But that same relaxed and free-flowing vibe that Woodshed embodies does not come without its limitations. Woodshed's jams stand out as more brawns than brains with all the musicians showing off their undeniable skills.

Woodshed is a four-piece band from California that formed in 1992, but drummer Eric Turner and lead guitarist/singer James Danielson have been playing together for over 16 years. The tightness of these two musicians is evident throughout the album and it results in a unique interplay between guitar and drums. Step To It Once, the final and longest song on the album (22 minutes) is by far the highlight. Starting off slowly, the song picks up in speed and intensity and Danielson drenches the audience with his wah-soaked licks proving he has some serious chops. His playing leads the band's jams as he gracefully controls the tempo and guides the music in many different directions. Although never really making its way to that sacred "mystical" place that other jam bands occasionally find, there is a genuine honesty to Woodshed's music that makes you want to stay on for the ride. Soul's Gonna Fly is a fun little tune that shows the band's capability of writing shorter and more focused songs.

Danielson's voice reminded me a lot of Warren Haynes - rough, gritty and soulful. And like Haynes you sometimes need an interpreter to understand just what the hell he's saying. The band's take on Albert King's We All Wanna Boogie shows off Danielson's range as he attacks the song with ferocity that would make King proud.

Woodshed takes the now standard jamband formula of long extended solos and segues and adds a more rock'nroll feel. "Goodnight Irene" still has what it takes to appeal to jamband fans, however. The music is danceable, funky and bluesy, and listening to the album will get you moving, but some may find elements of the band's sound occasionally to be too familiar.
Behind the Woodshed by Robin Marie (printed in Desert Rhythms)
At the risk of offending readers and musicians everywhere by using comparisons to describe a band... WOODSHED (one of the best bands of any genre to ever arise from the desert's music scene) has that "BLUES TRAVELER" sound with that "GRATEFUL DEAD" vibe. Their music is well written, with a lot of feeling. Their bluesy and sometimes ballsey sound is only overshadowed by their performance which has progressed over the years from "really tight bar-room band," to "they moved me" in intensity.

WOODSHED is comprised of four musically profound gentlemen who seem to hold their values as close to them as they do their music.

James Danielson blends his tasty blues licks with and earthy guitar tone and skillfully rolls off melodic guitar solos and rhythms while singing either lead or supporting vocals. He has a graceful demeanor on stage where he seems to be at ease. His love for the music is easily sensed by the audience as he enthusiastically engulfs himself in the body of each of the songs. He could be the band's "front-man"... he is one of them. There are four of them in this group.

Visually and musically... all of the members of WOODSHED are frontmen. Incredibly important pieces of the whole, they are the secret ingredients that make this unique recipe work. Rick Shelly is an intense and powerful presence in the band. His musical influence to the songs lends a moodiness that creates a strong bond between the listener and the song. Rick Shelly provides the band with lead vocals, guitar and some of the tastiest harmonica I have ever heard.

Bassist Dean Oliveri and drummer Eric Turner would have to have played together for a thousand years to be able to unite the way they do as a rhythm section. Both players are dynamic and exceptionally skilled as musicians... and visually, there is never a dull moment between them.

The music of WOODSHED is refreshingly honest, never quite the same twice. Still, they are very tight, as if each note is completely rehearsed.

They seem to have tapped into that "vibe" that is once again reigning the younger generation. The brother and sisterhood that of the sixties and seventies without politics. WOODSHED is not necessarily making a social statement with their music... but the feeling is all there. If their music says anything about who they are, it's that they are "about the music." They play it how they feel it, and if someone happens to dig the sound, that just makes the whole vibe better.

They are family oriented and their friends seem to be an extension of their family. One that is connected, if only by music, without prejudice or judgment. I think that that is the "vibe" that I find so appealing. It feels good to be part of a music scene that has found the common thread of music that breaks all barriers. It feels good to be a part of a culture that welcomes all others so genuinely. It feels good to... feel good!

After the release of two recordings on Chrome Horse Records, they have proven themselves to be a strength on the forefront of the local music scene with a promising career internationally.

FIRES OF SPRING and LET IT ROLL are both excellent collections of the band's best work to date. They are applaudable efforts on the parts of WOODSHED as well as Mike Thuney and the Show Factory (co-producers and engineers) and easily meets industry standards for both quality and content. Both recordings have found their way out of the hundreds in my band promo pile to my personal collection of regularly played recordings.

I haven't been this excited about a band I wasn't in myself... well... ever! If I have it my way, I'll be booking this band all the way up the California coast this summer, if not just to spread a little of that "good vibe" around again. In my opinion, WOODSHED is ripe for the pickin' and any major label that is in touch with what is happening among the new, young generation of recycled DEAD-HEADS today would quickly snap them up and promote the beejeebers out of them.

If you haven't had the pleasure of hearing WOODSHED'S music or even if it's been a while since you've heard them... do yourself the favor of experiencing their celebration of life with song. They are a local band more than worthy of our support and whose music will journey you back to a simpler time with a stronger purpose.