Eric Wood

Illustrated Night

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In a classic prophet-without-honor scenario, New York songwriter Eric Wood has a wide audience in Italy, where much of this album was recorded during a tour, but remains unknown in his homeland. Wood's benighted countrymen are missing a lot. Abundant yet unavoidable Tim Buckley comparisons notwithstanding, with the exception of Jeff Buckley no-one else has carried the fragile jazz-folk torch into the present century with such deftness. If the elder Buckley had survived for a couple of more decades, it's likely he'd be writing eccentric folk-bossa novas as gorgeous as "Blue Impression."

Eric Wood's style is full of originality and singular moments. His lyrics reveal an uncommon depth both in their construction and their subject matter, using poetic skills that reach back beyond the usual singer-songwriter models to Joyce, Yeats, and even Shakespeare. The insistently percolating, rhythmically inventive jazz combo that backs Wood is consistently inspiring. Wood's work is challenging, but as ILLUSTRATED NIGHT bears out, it's well worth the effort.

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