Wires & Wood: 23 strings, 4 voices, lots of sitka spruce deliver bluegrass

Wires & Wood

Wires & Wood (New Zealand)

Tui Award winning Wires & Wood is a four piece band inspired by the sounds of traditional and modern bluegrass music.  This versatile band plays a hard driving punchy style of bluegrass right through to heart melting slow waltzes. As well as striving for instrumental excellence the songs are infused with multipart harmony singing.

Banjo picker extraordinaire Bryan Christianson will be one of the few musicians at Kiwigrass was at the original 1970 Banjo Picker’s Convention at Claudelands, Hamilton and that’s where he says he fell in love with the 5-string banjo.

Bryan’s been involved in the music since then, playing in various bands with just about all the well-known names of the NZ Bluegrass scene, Peter Brocklehurst, Read Hudson, Graham Lovejoy, to name just a few. After a break of about 10 years (on and off) Bryan met up with Dave Warren and they began to pick a few tunes. At the Waharau Folk Festival in June 2003 they decided that having a band again might be fun.

Micheal Young became obsessed with the guitar at the age of 18, inspired by the likes of James Taylor, Neil Young, Led Zeppelin, Joe Walsh, Chet Atkins and the Beatles. His father used to drag him along to bluegrass festivals in the hills of the Missouri Ozarks and he gained an appreciation for the instrumental skills of the local pickers. While Micheal was never that moved by the old time bluegrass style, he was blown away by the (then) contemporary rock/jazz/blues/bluegrass fusion music coming from the likes of New Grass Revival, The Tony Rice Unit and The David Grisman Quartet. This simmered for years until moving to Auckland where he finally met a few other musicians who were both capable and willing to play in those styles. He has even started to gain an appreciation for the old time traditional bluegrass that the other band members love. They started jamming just for the joy of it, ended up doing a few gigs, and Wires & Wood was born. Micheal provides mandolin and lead vocals for Wires & Wood.

Dave Warren was introduced to Bluegrass music at about age six, when his father (Tom Warren) heard “Dueling Banjos” on the radio, and decided that was the music for him! ! He had a guitar put in his hands by the time he was seven or so and remembers well the National Banjo pickers Conventions, Mike Seeger, Bill Clifton, HCBB, etc etc. Dave’s interest in Bluegrass at a playing level was rekindled around 1998 and on his move to Auckland in 2000 he met and played with many wonderful musicians and eventually became a part of the coalescence called “Wires & Wood”. Plays guitar & occasionally mandolin.

Garry Trotman plays bass in Wires & Wood and is the newest member of the band. He has always been partial to trad country music, blues, folk and sub-genres, such as bluegrass, Cajun and western swing. Garry was previously in ‘The Terraplanes’ and ‘Southern Cross’ bluegrass groups with Bryan, and also played in a South Australian bluegrass band called ‘Highly Strung’.

To help relieve some of the winter blues of 2003 a few Auckland based musicians began having a Friday night bluegrass oriented jam session. Word leaked out, someone asked us to perform at a charity event and a band was born. Since then we have performed at events and venues all over New Zealand, including the Auckland Folk Festival, the Wellington Folk Festival, the Whare Flat Music Festival in Dunedin, Canterbury Folk Festival, Wellington Bluegrass Society, Fight for Life, TV commercials, Music Mountain Matakana and local music clubs and events around the country. We are still refining the Wires & Wood sound and expanding our repertoire of what we call bluegrass music. Wires & Wood released their debut album “Over The Moon” in 2010. “Over The Moon” is the recipient of the RIANZ Tui Award for Best Folk Album 2010/11.