On August 28, Austin, Texas natives Wood & Wire are set to release “a 40 minute journey” that is their new album No Matter Where It Goes From Here, however, to hold fans over, they’re giving a 7:10 glimpse into the album with two singles, “Pigs” and “John.” Not only do both serve as sonic statements, the former delves into “money is the root of all evil” vein, while the latter speaks of a friendship and the bonds that tie them together.
No Matter Where It Goes From Here comes on the heels of the band’s greatest success to date, which included a Grammy nomination for Best Bluegrass Album for their last effort, North of Despair. With their new album, the band picks up right where they left off, showcasing the fantastic musicianship and spot on harmonies; really, everything one should expect from a Wood & Wire album, as they’ve consistently kept pumping out solid work since their 2013 self-titled debut.
We chatted with lead vocalist and guitarist Tony Kamel about “Pigs” and “John,” what listeners can expect from the rest of No Matter Where It Goes From Here, the band’s plans for offering new content for their fans and more!
Pro Country: You had some of your greatest success to date with your last album North of Despair. How encouraging has it been for you to see that continuity of success as you continue to release new music?
Tony Kamel: Any success at all in music feels like something of a miracle, so we just try to enjoy it, not take it for granted, and frankly, we’ve learned not to be too encouraged by it because it can be fleeting. Working hard, going through the process of making a record, making it the way we want to make it, and communicating through the creative process together is where we get the most encouragement.
PC: Your single “Pigs” discusses money and exploitation, and was written by Tony and Silas Lowe. Can you talk about the inspiration behind the song?
TK: The chorus of “Pigs” is a series of absolutes: “Pigs don’t fly, we’re all gonna die, you can’t take your money to the grave.” It’s a social commentary on how money drives our society and how it’s displayed on television and social media via a few examples: reality shows about rich people, TV evangelists that take advantage of vulnerable people, and divisive “news” shows that spew hatred for profit.
PC: The animated lyric video for “Pigs” was created by Tony and Danny Barnes. How much fun was it to create the video yourselves and to be able to tell the song’s story from a first-person perspective?
TK: We had planned on hiring people to make videos, but the pandemic killed that. I certainly had fun and learned a lot, but I had never done any animation before, so there were definitely times I wanted to punch holes in my wall. Danny is a good friend and mentor and it’s always great to work with him on anything. I think it’s interesting and unique, and that’s what I’m most happy with.
PC: You released the second single from No Matter Where It Goes From Here, “John,” this past Friday, which is a song that describes a friend of Tony’s. Can you talk about what it was about John that drew you to write a song about him and why you characterized yourselves as a “modern-day Kerouac and wannabe Banksy”?
TK: John is still a good buddy of mine. He and I grew up privileged in Houston and could have gone back and easily found good jobs through our network of family and friends. We both took different paths; he became a salmon fisherman in Alaska (as well as an artist) and I became a musician. So the song is about him, but for people like us; seekers, searchers, drifters. The line “he’s a modern day Kerouac, wannabe Banksy” refers to John’s poetry and art, which is fantastic. Early on, he had this stencil of a jackalope he’d spray paint around Galveston Island, but then the cops caught him and he had to stop.
PC: What can listeners expect to hear on No Matter Where It Goes From Here? What information can you give about the album?
TK: It’s hard to answer this! We’re proud of it. What we hope to give the listener is a 40 minute journey that takes them out of their weird, uncertain, pandemic filled world and offers a bit of joy.
PC: 2020 has altered most of the plans of artists so far. Of the things you can control, what are your plans for the rest of the year?
TK: We relinquished the idea of control in this world some time ago. However, we are exploring ways to offer up content for our fans via a site like Patreon. As long as we keep making the art, we’ll keep sharing it and putting ourselves out there. That’s about all we’ve got.
*All images by Alison Narro*
**Wood & Wire’s music is featured on The Best of Pro Country playlist!**