Sissonville native returns to his 'Roots'

Jonathan Glen Wood moved from Sissonville to Louisville, Ky., 14 months ago. He’s back in town Friday for a concert with John Lilly and Sasha Colette at LiveMix Studio.

Reposted from
The Charleston Gazette

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Jonathan Glen Wood seems country enough; he loves whiskey, moonshine, Hank Williams and Merle Haggard, although not necessarily in that order.

The 31-year-old Sissonville native and Louisville resident brings his version of country and folk to LiveMix Studio on Friday for a singer/songwriter showcase, “Roots to Boot,” with Olive Hill, Ky.’s Sasha Colette and Charleston’s John Lilly.

Getting the three performers together for an evening show is a great idea, Wood says, and performing with Colette and Lilly isn’t so bad either.

“It’s nice to play an early show and be able to invite folks out who normally wouldn’t make it due to late bar starting times,” he said. “Sasha’s great; I’ve played with her a few times now, and her songs continue to grow. I’ve known John for a while now; he’s one of the greatest singers and songwriters in the country. This show is a dream for me.”

Wood moved from West Virginia to Kentucky in May of last year after years of wanting to do it.

“It just got to a point where I knew I had to do it or I’d end up going crazy,” he said. “I was so frightened to leave the security that I’d built in West Virginia. It took me a few months to really prepare my mind to make the decision my heart had wanted to make years earlier.”

Getting started in songwriting also took some time for Wood.

“I’d always sung and written poetry but never really had any interest in learning instruments,” he said. “My dad bought me a guitar when I was 13, and it got placed in a closet for seven years. One day, I borrowed a Hank Williams album from a friend, and everything made sense. I pulled the guitar from the closet and called up Robin Kessinger for lessons. Through Robin, I also met Jenny Allinder, who is another huge inspiration. Both Robin and Jenny really pushed me to sing and write.”

For Wood, like many other artists, songwriting is his release, his way of getting out his stress and frustrations. That might be why his songs are less than happy.

“The hardest thing for me to do is write a happy song,” he said. “Anything I try and write that’s happy just feels canned and corny to me. Everyone that has inspired me from the beginning has been tortured.”

While in town, Wood plans on recording some songs for a vinyl 7-inch and catching up with friends and family. Vinyl only? In today’s digital age?

“I’m pretty vinyl-centric, and my old soul tells me that it makes sense to have vinyl-only releases,” said Wood, who works at the renowned Louisville record store Ear X-tacy.
His idols, Hank and Merle, are pretty old-school, too. Wood says that Merle Haggard, who he recently saw perform in Renfro Valley, Ky., is one of his biggest songwriting influences.

“I can’t imagine how it must feel to have been writing for such a long period of time. His body of work is just so vast,” Wood said. “It’s always fantastic to get to see him.”
Such a massive song catalog makes it tough for Wood to choose his favorite Haggard tunes.

“Picking a favorite Haggard song is tough,” he said. “My rotation of favorites changes with the addition and subtraction of life conditions. Currently, the three that I’m spinning the most are ‘Old Flames Can’t Hold a Candle to You,’ ‘California Cotton Fields’ and ‘No Reason to Quit.’

“Why these are currently my three favorite is sort of a mystery. I’m not pining for an old love, and I’ve never even been to California. The third may make the most sense; I really have no reason to quit.”

John Lilly, Sasha Colette and Jonathan Glen Wood
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday (Doors open at 7)
WHERE: LiveMix Studio, 1033 Quarrier St., Suite 505
COST: $10
INFO: livemixstudio.com or 304-415-2947

--- photo: John Rott

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