It's easy to like the musical byproduct of James Brown's axeman Damon Wood and his Denver posse Harmonious Junk. Wood struts his road-tested guitar stuff on Space Cadet and demonstrates creative songwriting ability, weaving diverse influences into a musical tapestry that recalls classics like Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimi Hendrix, Albert Collins and Jimmy Herring. Despite old-school influences, the music feels new and bares a unique stamp. Keywork by Chad Aman (also of Denver's Cocktail Revolution and Byron Shaw Projex) simmers and shines throughout, while bass ace Jack Alterman keeps the low end tight and thumping. The disc goes out strong, stringing together four very solid cuts: "Gimme Gimme," "Only True Friend," "Magic," and "Luster."

Bouncing between psychedelia, funk, blues, jazz and reggae, Junk's guitar-driven sound is tight, even when venturing on flights of improvisational fancy.

"We try to keep it sort of old-school," Wood says. "Just musicians. No DJs. No tracks. Just an organic setup that allows us to stretch out, but also something that's danceable and that's boogieable. We try to create a mix that entertains people but also entertains us. And we try to appeal to people of all ages, whether they're fifteen or fifty."

Wood says he enjoys playing for erudite listeners. He says he often receives positive feedback along with a few kernels of insight, whether he's laying down tunes by Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder, or one of his own compositions. "I love it when people know their stuff and have a broad knowledge of musical history," he enthuses. "That's the kind of crowd I like to play for." Between Soul Brother Number One and Harmonious Junk, Wood is well positioned to stay in front of the musically well-informed, though he takes nothing for granted.

"The JB lineup has been stable for a while, but I'm the last person to have gotten in, so that keeps me on my toes, you know. I like playing for JB, but I take advantage of my off time to work on Harmonious Junk. It's definitely nice to come home [to Denver] and be in my own band."

Nick Hutchinson
JamBase | Colorado
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[Published on: 1/22/05]

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