Words by Lady Godiva
In a land across the sea lives a troubadour called Woody. His first name is bucolic and his surname is the color of his native Ireland’s clover, hard to find a more pastoral moniker. He takes you on a magic carpet over forests, lakes and hamlets to his enchanted kingdom Shangri-La. What is his power? He sets his watch to divine time.
No one could tell what realm he belongs in as he defies the odds with his timeless tunes. While his songwriting may evoke Donovan as The Pied Piper or Nick Drake‘s dapper melancholy, he has crafted his own sonic identity with heartfelt and painterly adorned tales, propelling the listener into a most poetic ride across time periods and dimensions. Woody Green’s self titled debut was produced by Go Kurosawa from Kikagaku Moyo and their chemistry cast a proper alchemy.
As someone who claims the birds mock him for not taking flight, he shoots even higher for the stars. Let’s appreciate how hypnotic his record sleeve is. Truly a step into the artist’s symbolic neck of woods with an epic capture of Brighton poetess Kathleen Savage as a child, surrounded by two magnificent white horses in a meadow. A childhood memory turned into a most fitting album cover. Fairytale worthy.
The aptly named “Divine Time” is a joyful and fuzzy celebratory tune that feels like an ode to summer and a gathering of kindred spirits. There is an infectious feel good mood to this that delivers dopamine.
In the blink of an eye, the atmosphere switches to a ballad which is a love letter to nature. Woody is the “Oak Man” indeed. Wise and so ancient he’s nearly immortal, he embodies season poetry and longevity as an oak. An epitome of resilience, he lures you with mushrooms to turn into him. Unlike Alice in Wonderland, one can’t merely change sizes but turn into a different kind of living being.
This kind of magic gives way to the beguiling baroque tapestry “Easter Air”, an acid folk Celtic gem that is a potent time machine and holds a plethora of traditional folklore mental pictures. That melodica is like a spellbinding pendulum. There is also a twist to the song, like opening a medieval volume whilst questioning the established order. Each tune being a piece of a jigsaw, the following “Good In Most, Bad In Some” fits perfectly and may evoke Bert Jansch circa Rosemary Lane with its atmosphere and guitar picking.
“Magic Chair” navigates between dream and reality and makes a capstone link between the modern world and a yesteryear one. It is like a wake up call that first keeps you on your toes and is an escapism reminder when the world gets tough. A momentous rollercoaster of a song that stops you in your tracks with its unpredictable structure and a lush sitar part that will give you goosebumps. Soulfully trippy, it leaves a mildly hallucinatory effect.
There can’t be a proper medieval influenced record without a song that embodies a tarot card and there comes “The Empress”, elegant and dignified, which echoes “Good In Most, Bad in Some” with its knight in shining armour aura.
Green’s lyrics are a tailor-made addition to his songwriting, they are metaphorically profuse and almost palpable with their stream of consciousness. The last two tracks on the record are a pinnacle in this regard, as well as in his vocal range. His messages may sinuously linger in your mind. The journey through the green wizardry has been completed and is a breath of fresh air with its high-flown twists and turns. A promising balladry and reverie one may never want to awaken from.
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