The Woodwork’s sound stems
from Mayo and Julio coming
from a jazz background,
Taylor bringing the group
a folk influence, and
their use of harmonies.

The Music Coming Out
of The Woodwork

by Cindy-jo Dietz

I'M NO EXPERT, BUTI think I know talent when I see it — and I see it here. Visually, The Woodwork gives a unified vibe; musically, the same. Their rapport with one another shows. You could see these guys, even if they weren’t in a band together, hanging out in some beatnik bar, drinking vintage vino or enjoying a craft brew. Their shows cater to folks with eclectic tastes, hipsters open to something they haven’t really seen before. The crowds at their gigs are laid back, appreciating something different.

The band members have considerable musical talent, but it’s not their individual talent that makes them so enjoyable to watch — it’s the fact they work so well together. There are those groups of musicians that read each other flawlessly, those that can shoot a look to one another on stage and, almost like telepathy, know what each is thinking about where to take the song on this night. You could ask any musician and they would tell you that every performance is unique. It’s an overall feeling for that night, that stage. It’s more than knowledge of your instrument. If the band members don’t have chemistry with one another, the music won’t either. These guys have certain chemistry. They offer something to audiences that we don’t get much any more, originality.

Time is overdue that Southwest Florida had a new band worth a more regional or national level of attention. It’s possible these guys, from Naples, could make that leap.

It always impresses me when original bands are actually accepted into rotation at local venues, because it’s not easy to get paid in this town if that’s what you do. Music venue managers tell musicians that they don’t ‘do’ original music because the crowds in Florida don’t want that; they want music they know, music catering to tourists. The fact that The Woodwork is gaining popularity says that their sound can be easily accepted and appeals to a wide audience.

The band is relatively new, establishing themselves as a group only a short nine months ago. Members of The Woodwork include Taylor Freydberg (vocals & guitar), Christina Ortega (vocals), Julio Pintos (upright bass), and Mayo Coates (percussion).

According to Mayo, the band formed during a lovers’ quarrel. He was kidding of course. Pretty much through our entire interview this group is lively and fun, joking and looking as though they feel quite at home in the back room of Point Ybel Brewery, where I had just taken in their current performance.

They tell me one of their influences includes The Devil Makes Three, an American band that mixes bluegrass, old time country, folk blues, ragtime jazz, and rockabilly. Christina explains that she feels The Woodwork’s sound stems from Mayo and Julio coming from a Jazz background, Taylor bringing the group a folk influence, and noting their use of harmonies. Actually, she says, their sound takes from many influences of music.

The Woodwork recently recorded a five song EP fans can purchase at shows. All the songs on the disc are excellent and the recording is quite good. I am equally impressed with the tracks off their EP as I am with their live performance. Christina’s voice on ‘Burning Bridges’ is very sweet and smooth. All the songs have a thick, rich sound. Taylor says his favorite song on the EP, and to play at this time, is ‘In The Pines,’ which says is representative of the direction the band is working on moving with their music. He describes the sound as having more folk influences, a lot of harmony, with a little more reverb — a little more spaced out, but with a lot of energy.

Multiple times a month you can catch the band out performing in venues such as South Street, Riptide, the Pub, and 7th Avenue Social. Great local venues, but perhaps their most notable next performance will be when they open for Blues Traveler on November 9 at the Southwest Performing Arts Center. A unanimous dream of the band though is to someday play Red Rocks Amphi-theatre in the mountains outside Denver, Colorado.

If you’d like to hear a sample of this music, watch a few videos, or check out their schedule of gigs, visit them on ReverbNation.com.

If you should happen to seek out something taking you back to the days when music was smart, yet at the same time catapult you toward a time where music has yet to go, The Woodwork will suit your needs splendidly. •

November-December 2016